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Morning headlines: Thursday, September 6, 2012

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

Criminal case against Kansas City Bishop to reach swift end today

The criminal case against the highest-ranking Catholic official in the U.S. to be charged with shielding an abusive priest is poised to reach a surprisingly fast end. Jackson County, Mo., prosecutors and attorneys for Kansas City Bishop Robert Finn have agreed to have a judge hear their case today, weeks ahead of a scheduled jury trial date.

Finn and the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph are each charged with a misdemeanor count of failing to report suspected child abuse.

The judge will hear the case this afternoon and is expected to reach a verdict later in the day.

The charges stem from the Rev. Shawn Ratigan's child porn case, in which church officials knew about photos on the priest's computer but didn't turn him in for six months.

Mother, three daughters found dead in Jefferson County

A Missouri woman and her three young daughters have been found shot to death in a rural area south of St. Louis. Names of the victims have not been released.

The bodies were found early this morning at a home near De Soto, about 45 miles south of St. Louis.

Media reports say the woman's estranged boyfriend is being questioned by police. Jefferson County Sheriff Glenn Boyer says detectives are also looking into the possibility of murder-suicide.

The 32-year-old woman was found dead on steps leading to the porch. The girls, ages 1, 10 and 11, were found inside a van. Boyer says all four were shot in the head. Boyer says the woman had a restraining order against the boyfriend. He lived at the home where the bodies were found.

Loop Trolley project gets funding from FTA

The Loop Trolleyproject has received a boost in funding to help propel its construction process, according to the Missouri History Museum.

The injection of funds is part of a $25 million Federal Transit Administration grant originally approved for the Loop Trolley project back in July 2010. However, the original portion of funding was only for design work. The Missouri History Museum says this newly-announced remainder amount allows the project to begin construction. The project was originally supposed to be completed this fall, but the timeline has since changed. Instead, the project now has an expected completion timeframe of mid-2014.