Man found guilty in girlfriend's 1996 death

Devin Kelly

A Juneau Superior Court jury on Friday afternoon convicted Robert Kowalski of one count of second-degree murder in the shooting death of his girlfriend 18 years ago.

But jurors could not reach a decision on whether to convict Kowalski of premeditated murder for fatally shooting Sandra Perry with a shotgun in a Yakutat hotel room on July 21, 1996.

Kowalski's attorneys argued that Perry's death was an accident. Prosecutors said the killing was intentional and happened during a heated argument.

Jurors deliberated all day Thursday, and the verdict came at 4 p.m. on Friday. Kowalski was convicted of second-degree murder, or showing extreme indifference to human life, but the jury was hung on a second count of first-degree murder, said Assistant Attorney General James Fayette.

Fayette called the verdict "delayed justice for the family of the victim."

A hearing has been scheduled for next week to determine if the case will proceed to sentencing, or if there will be a retrial.

Reach Devin Kelly at or 257-4314.