Latest Indiana news, sports, business and entertainment at 9:20 p.m. EDT


Indiana officials push for obeying stay-at-home order

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana officials are insisting that residents obey the state’s stay-at-home order to rein in the coronavirus spread and not take advantage of its travel and work exemptions. Those appeals came Thursday as Indiana’s death toll from the pandemic rose by three to 17. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state grew by 170 to 645. The stay-at-home order issued by Gov. Eric Holcomb took effect Wednesday. The order has exceptions for workers in essential businesses or for necessary trips for food and medicine. Holcomb says the exemptions are “not encouragement to break the rules.”


Fort Wayne jail releases 25 inmates early amid pandemic

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) — Officials say 25 jail inmates in Fort Wayne have received early releases amid the coronavirus pandemic. WPTA-TV reports the Allen County Prosecutor's Office agreed to release certain inmates with less than 30 days remaining on misdemeanor convictions to ease crowding at the Allen County Jail. Allen County Sheriff's Capt. Steve Stone confirms 25 inmates were released Wednesday. Allen Superior Court Executive John McGauley says the court consulted with the prosecutor’s office on ways to manage the jail population during the pandemic. The prosecutor’s office agreed to release low level, non-violent offenders who had less than 30 days to serve.


Indianapolis light show aims to spread hope during outbreak

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A new light show at Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis is aimed at inspiring hope during the coronavirus pandemic. A heart projected on one building pulsates and changes size and color while images of the globe and various countries are projected on another as a recording plays of Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge over Troubled Water” being performed by two Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra musicians. Bob Schultz of the business group Downtown Indy says it is a message of love to the world. Downtown Indy isn’t encouraging people to visit the Circle to watch it unless they are already out. It posted a video on the group’s website for at-home viewing.


63 workers at southern Indiana hospital on quarantine

SEYMOUR, Ind. (AP) — A southern Indiana hospital has placed 63 employees on a 14-day quarantine after they came in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. The Indianapolis Star reports the workers at Schneck Medical Center in Seymour interacted with a patient who came in for treatment but didn't initially show any symptoms of the disease caused by the coronavirus, Hospital spokeswoman Stephanie Furlow says the patient came to Schneck during the early stages of the national outbreak and began to develop symptoms over time. She says the affected Schneck workers initially didn't wear proper protective equipment when in contact with the patient.


Indiana governor vetoes bill banning local rental rules

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana’s governor has vetoed a Republican-backed bill that would have blocked cities from regulating rental properties. Opponents say the bill threatened existing local protections for tenants in several communities around the state. Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb said in a veto letter issued Wednesday evening that the bill’s language was “overly broad,” citing a provision that would’ve prohibited any local rules on landlord-tenant relationships beyond state law. Holcomb also wrote that economic circumstances have changed significantly with the coronavirus outbreak since lawmakers voted on the bill March 11. Tenant advocates maintained the proposal would be unfair to the estimated 30%, or some 2 million, of Indiana residents living in rental housing.


Indianapolis Archdiocese shuts down drive-thru confessions

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (AP) — A Catholic priest in western Indiana has stopped hearing drive-through confessions at the request of the Indianapolis Archdiocese amid the coronavirus pandemic.The Rev. Dan Bedel serves both St. Patrick and St. Margaret Mary Catholic churches in Terre Haute. He says he was able to hear about 15 confessions over two days in which he parked his pickup truck in the church parking lots and parishioners drove up next to him and cracked their windows for the sacrament. The Tribune-Star reports Bedel told parishioners in a notice Tuesday that the "archdiocese has deemed it to be too high a risk for contamination." Catholic churches across Indiana have been closed because of the pandemic.


3 charged in murder-for-hire allegedly sparked by jealousy

COLUMBUS, Ind. (AP) — Authorities say three people, including an Illinois man, have been arrested in connection with a February slaying outside a central Indiana factory apparently motivated by the victim’s relationship with an ex-girlfriend of one of the suspects. The (Columbus) Republic reports investigators allege Leobardo Rodriguez Flores' fatal February shooting outside a Columbus factory was a murder-for-hire. Thirty-one-year-old Eliel Avelar of Midlothian, Illinois, is charged in Flores' killing. Court documents say a Columbus man, 35-year-old Abraham Jimenez Cesareo, paid Avelar to kill Flores after a 34-year-old woman, Eladia Jacobo-Ortiz, introduced him to Avelar. Both Ortiz and Cesareo are being held on charges of conspiracy to commit serious bodily injury.


Indiana's inmates still eating meals together amid pandemic

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana’s prison populations are still eating meals together in large groups and mixing during outdoor recreation even as Hoosiers are keeping their distance as a stay-at-home order took effect Wednesday aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus. The Indiana Department of Correction has suspended visitation at Indiana's 20 correctional facilities and taken other steps in a recent directive. But The Journal Gazette reports that hundreds of inmates are still together during outdoor recreation and also eat meals together in large groups. The department says there are no known coronavirus cases among its 27,000 offenders, but concedes that it hasn't tested any if those inmates.