Federal prosecutors want a judge to declare the jailhouse wedding of accused killer Joshua Wade a farce intended to prevent the purported wife from testifying against him.
In early 2008, Wade was being held in the Anchorage jail when his off-again, on-again girlfriend, Lisa Andrews, arrived for the wedding with two witnesses and a marriage commissioner. The commissioner was a cook from Denny's, where Andrews worked.
They were turned away. The jail allowed Wade a maximum of three visitors at any one time, and he needed four other people -- the bride, the witnesses and the commissioner -- for the wedding, prosecutors said in a court document filed last week.
That same night, Wade, who was being held on a bank fraud charge connected to the disappearance of Mindy Schloss but had not yet been charged with her murder, called the wedding party from jail. The ceremony was done over the phone. The jail recorded the 10-minute call, as it does all inmate calls.
Prosecutors assert the marriage was fraudulent and illegal since Wade and Andrews were in two different places.
Under Alaska law, a marriage is not valid unless both the bride and groom take each other to be husband and wife "in the presence of each other and the person solemnizing the marriage and in the presence of at least two competent witnesses."
The couple also didn't follow state Department of Corrections procedures for an inmate wedding, says the motion, which seeks to block any attempt to prevent Andrews from testifying based on exemptions for spouses.
In the federal case, Wade was charged initially with using Schloss' ATM card. Police have said his DNA was found in her car. Then the body of the Sand Lake nurse, who had been Wade's neighbor, was found in Wasilla woods.
In April 2008 Wade was indicted on new charges that allege he tortured and killed her. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty. A status conference in the case is set for this morning.
Wade, 29, and Andrews, 46, had a stormy, violent relationship before his arrest in September 2007, Steven Skrocki, an assistant U.S. attorney, said in the new court filing
In 2005 and again in February 2007, Andrews sought protective orders against him. She testified on Feb. 5, 2007, about frequent domestic violence, including him pushing, shoving and restraining her. But 16 days later, she told a magistrate that she didn't need the protection anymore. They had both moved on and she had no interest in him, she said, according to notes of the hearing.
Regardless, they kept living together off and on over the next few months, she told police in an interview on Aug. 29, 2007. At the time, police were looking for Wade as "a person of interest" in the Schloss missing person case.
Andrews said she hadn't seen him since June 5, 2007, when her sister flew in from Idaho and she kicked Wade out.
A bank camera later captured a picture of someone using Schloss' card at an ATM machine. Police showed the photo to Andrews.
"Okay well that is Josh because --," Andrews told the detectives, according to court documents.
"Okay why?" one detective asked.
"That's his jacket that he bought at Foot Locker and you guys said it was a puffy jacket. It's really -- all the thugs wear it, it's not that thick."
After his arrest that September, Wade and Andrews began talking on the phone as often as jail rules allowed, but it wasn't sweet talk, according to the prosecution filing.
"The bulk of these conversations reflect angry, hostile, crude, and abusive exchanges between Wade and Andrews, with each suspiciously claiming ... the other as being unfaithful," the documents say.
In November 2007, Mary Geddes, Wade's attorney at the time, gave notice to the U.S. marshal that Wade intended to marry Andrews. Prosecutors immediately protested, describing Andrews as a material witness and saying the "circumstances and timing of this request are clearly suspect."
Wade failed to follow steps required by the Department of Corrections, including premarital counseling, and the department never approved the marriage, according to the prosecution filing.
Wade "put continual pressure on Andrews to not only get married, but to perform a marriage ceremony and complete the paperwork as quickly as possible," the filing says.
Andrews didn't want to testify and told Wade in one conversation that she was considering fleeing to another country, prosecutors assert in the court document.
People can't be forced to testify against their spouse, under federal common law. Prosecutors want to make sure they can use Andrews as a witness.
Andrews hasn't spoken with Wade since November, according to the prosecution filing.
The defense hadn't responded to the prosecution motion by Monday evening.
Find Lisa Demer online at adn.com/contact/ldemer or call 257-4390.
By LISA DEMER
Alaska Dispatch Publishing