Murder trial delayed for Palmer 17-year-old

Zaz Hollander

PALMER -- A Palmer Superior Court Judge on Tuesday delayed the murder trial for Jacob Allen Dvorak, the 17-year-old accused of shooting 45-year-old  Frank Pushruk and then pushing his body off a bluff above the Matanuska River in March.

Dvorak at the time allegedly told Alaska State Troopers he killed Pushruk and dumped his body as punishment for sexually assaulting a teenage girl a few days earlier.

Superior Court Judge Vanessa White on Tuesday approved a request from Dvorak’s new public defender to delay the trial until late March. Public defender Elizabeth Varela told the judge she took over the murder case this week -- Dvorak’s former defender was promoted to a supervisory position -- and needed more time to process the roughly 1,000 pages of evidence plus 61 CDs.

Assistant District Attorney Michael Perry agreed to the new schedule.

Three of Pushruk’s family members sat through the hearing; a woman who identified herself as his sister began shouting at Dvorak and was escorted out of the courtroom by a court services officer.

Dvorak’s relatives also attended.

Judge White addressed Pushruk’s family during the hearing.

“I know that you want to have a resolution to this case as soon as possible; I do understand and appreciate that,” she said, explaining the factors behind the trial delay.

Outside the courthouse after Dvorak’s hearing, Anthony Pushruk said he didn’t want “eye for an eye” justice in the death of his brother but had hoped the case qualified for federal hate-crime prosecution.

The next hearing in the case is scheduled for Nov. 14.