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Morning headlines: Friday, September 21, 2012

(via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

Judge tosses lawsuit against Joyce Meyers Ministries

A southwestern Illinois judge has tossed a lawsuit against a televangelist filed by the family of a woman who was strangled along with her two sons.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that St. Clair County Associate Judge Richard Aguirre this week signed the order dismissing the lawsuit against Missouri-based Joyce Meyer Ministries. But he said it can be refiled within 30 days - something an attorney for the family says they will do.

While serving as Meyer's security chief in 2009, Christopher Coleman killed his wife, Sheri Coleman, and their two young sons at the Coleman home in Columbia. The family believes Meyer could have intervened and prevented the killings. Lawyers for the ministry had called the lawsuit meritless because the ministry had nothing to do with the deaths.

Nixon and Spence to debate today in Columbia

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon and Republican challenger Dave Spence are squaring off in their first debate. Economic development and the strength of Missouri's economy are likely to be key issues during the debate Friday in Columbia.

Nixon, a Democrat, became governor in 2009 and is seeking a second four-year term after serving 16 years as attorney general. Spence, of St. Louis, is a political newcomer. He stepped down last year as the president and CEO of Alpha Packaging. Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Jim Higgins also is participating in the debate, which is being sponsored by the Missouri Press Association.

SIUC students back in dorm following bomb threat

Students at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale were allowed to return to their residence halls at Brush Towers early Friday after police checked out a bomb threat. SIUC police evacuated students and staff from Brush Towers around 11 p.m. Thursday while they inspected the towers with officers and bomb-sniffing dogs.

Police say nothing was found. Students were allowed back into the hall around 1 a.m.