Jerzy Shedlock

Update, 4:40 p.m.: Human remains believed to be that of Ralph Smith have been found in the ashes of his Ketchikan home, according to Alaska State Troopers. The remains will be sent to the State Medical Examiner Office for positive identification and autopsy. The cause of the fire is under investigation. Original story: A 49-year-old Ketchikan man died after shooting his gun in the air then apparently going back into his burning home, Alaska State Troopers said. Early Wednesday evening, troopers in the Southeast community received a report of a house fire and shooting on Blackberry Lane. The homeowner, identified as Ralph Smith, “exited his residence, told a family member it was on fire, then drove down the road and parked his pickup perpendicularly in the road,” troopers said. Smith...Jerzy Shedlock
Anchorage police and medics were at the scene of a death downtown Thursday morning, where a man reportedly was hanging from a large tree. The Anchorage Police Department received a report about the man at about 10 a.m., said spokesperson Jennifer Castro. “The complainant said the man appeared to be hanging from a large tree on the west side of a building” located on the 700 block of West Second Avenue, she said. Initial indicators suggest the man committed suicide, but the death is still under investigation. Officers are working on identifying the victim, Castro said. The man was taken down from the tree late Thursday morning, and the state medical examiner is on scene.Jerzy Shedlock
The FBI has released its 2013 crime statistics, and a revised definition of rape has increased the rape rate in Alaska and nationwide. Last year, the federal agency’s Uniform Crime Reporting program started collecting rape data under the new definition. The new definition reflects an expanded interpretation of what types of penetration constitute rape and includes male and female victims. The old definition of rape included only female victims and was narrowly defined as “The carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will.” The new definition is broader and is defined as, “Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.” The revised definition expands...Jerzy Shedlock
Two former supervisors at a Dutch Harbor seafood plant were sentenced Wednesday in federal court in Anchorage to jail time for Clean Air Act violations. James Hampton , 45, the former assistant chief engineer for Westward Seafoods Inc., and Raul Morales , 53, former powerhouse supervisor, each faced a single Clean Air Act tampering charge. The charges stemmed from the men falsifying data to cover up that they intentionally failed to operate air pollution systems. Hampton was sentenced to 70 days; Morales was sentenced to 45 days, according to the U.S. District Attorney’s Office in Alaska. Both men were ordered to pay $1,000 fines and to undergo one year of supervised release. Criminal Division chief Kevin Feldis said the cases are the first time he’s aware of defendants being sentenced to...Jerzy Shedlock
A 45-year-old Anchorage man was sentenced to 12 years in prison Friday for sexually abusing a minor and possession of child pornography. He also faces a federal sentence next month for sexually exploitive recordings he made while on vacation. Kevin Dale Callander was sentenced to 24 years with 12 suspended, according to Assistant Attorney General Adam Alexander. Upon his release, he will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. He has no previous criminal record. Callander -- father of five adult children -- originally faced 13 felony counts that included allegations of child sex abuse as well as the possession, distribution and production of child porn. He entered into a plea agreement for the lesser charges on July 23. The investigation against Callander initially...Jerzy Shedlock
Joshua Wagner, 38, was sentenced Monday in Anchorage Superior Court to 46 years in prison for the 2011 stabbing death of his neighbor, Norman “George” Dennis. Dennis’ family packed the courtroom; some offered victim impact statements before Judge Jack Smith imposed the decades-long sentence. Wagner was convicted on two counts of second-degree murder and criminal mischief in February. Jurors decided he was not guilty of murder in the first degree. The more serious murder charge requires that a jury find a defendant intended to kill his or her victim, while the lesser requires a finding of actions of extreme recklessness. Smith gave Wagner 55 years with 10 suspended for the two murder counts. He also imposed two years for the criminal mischief charge, a year of which will be served...Jerzy Shedlock
The trial of Leroy Dick Jr., who stands accused of killing village public safety officer Thomas Madole in the Bristol Bay village of Manokotak in March 2013, started Monday with jury selection. The shooting set in motion potential changes to rural law enforcement statewide. Whether Dick ever again sees life outside a jail cell is up to jurors in Dillingham . Dick shot and killed 54-year-old Madole, who was responding to a report of a possibly suicidal person at Dick’s home, according to the charges. An Alaska State Trooper wrote in an affidavit that Madole realized he was in danger after hearing threats and Dick loading a rifle. He tried to run but was shot several times. Four months later, Gov. Sean Parnell signed legislation that would allow the previously unarmed VPSOs like Madole to...Jerzy Shedlock
On July 30, 2012, Mark Stephin Horton committed himself to killing the woman he’d recently stopped dating and stabbed her repeatedly, according to state prosecutors who delivered their opening statements against Horton Wednesday in Anchorage Superior Court. Horton’s ex-girlfriend survived, and jurors will decide whether to convict him of attempted murder, two assault charges and reckless endangerment. Legal intern Sarah Park said in her opening statement that the 52-year-old violently assaulted Sharon Collins, “because if he couldn’t have her, no one else could.” “Mark Horton stabbed Collins eight times while he yelled, ‘I’m going to kill you,’” she said. Defense attorney James Ferguson argued Collins was the aggressor, striking his client with a large figurine. Horton reacted in self-...Jerzy Shedlock
Smoke shop operator Michael Butler has been found guilty of defrauding the Municipality of Anchorage out of more than $1 million in cigarette taxes, according to the Alaska U.S. Attorney’s Office. Jurors found Butler guilty on charges of mail fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and conspiracy to make false statements about the distribution of cigarettes. Butler was formally charged on July 18, 2013 along with seven other defendants: Kyong Hee Kim, Sun Sims, Kimberly Sims, Jae Ho Lee, Jae Gak Lee, Jerry Lee and Insook Baik. All of the co-defendants pleaded guilty prior to Butler’s conviction except Baik, who was acquitted at trial. Assistant U.S. attorney Stephan Collins declined to comment on the single acquittal. “I respect the jurors’ decision,” Collins said. The federal...Jerzy Shedlock
Update, Nov. 6: Troopers have identified the victims of the fatal crash as Shane Yoder, 33, and William D. Thurlby, 74, of Fairbanks and North Pole, respectively. An investigation found that Yoder was driving the Kia sedan on Nordale Road when he lost control of his vehicle, troopers said. Yoder’s vehicle reportedly collided head-on with Marvin Carroll’s Ford truck. Thurlby was the passenger in the truck, troopers said. Carroll was extricated from the truck and taken to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital for treatment of “serious injuries,” troopers said. Original story: Two people were killed in a two-vehicle crash Wednesday afternoon in Fairbanks, according to Alaska State Troopers. A 911 caller reported the collision around 2:15 p.m. A 1999 Ford truck and a 2005 Kia sedan crashed near the...Tegan Hanlon,Jerzy Shedlock