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Southeast man found guilty of manslaughter may appeal

JUNEAU -- The lawyer of a man found guilty of manslaughter Friday says she may challenge the conviction.

Ronald O'Neil and Tracy Simpson, both from the Southeast Alaska community of Port Protection, had been drinking the night of Aug. 7, 2011. Simpson ended up dead from blunt-force trauma, and O'Neil was towing the body in a skiff when troopers arrived.

O'Neil claimed self-defense throughout the 10-day trial in Craig. The jury found evidence insufficient for the second-degree murder conviction sought by the state but found O'Neil guilty of reckless manslaughter.

His lawyer, Dianne Thoben, says she is concerned the jurors found her client guilty because they misunderstood self-defense law and wanted some type of punishment even with insufficient evidence.

Thoben says she will decide this week whether to appeal.


Associated Press