Prosecutors said Thursday that Roy Schauer, 46, has been indicted in the killing of James "Lucas" Moren in downtown Anchorage on Dec. 24, but they have dropped the charges against another man whose alleged involvement in the killing is in question.
Anchorage foot patrol officers responded to a shooting in the parking lot behind the Gaslight Bar shortly after 3 a.m. on Christmas Eve. They quickly located Moren, who died at the scene from three gunshot wounds.
Police arrested Schauer shortly after the shooting. His truck was seen leaving the parking lot, and officers pulled him over at Fourth Avenue and G Street, according to a charging document. He allegedly had the pistol on the back floor of his truck near the driver's side.
Prosecutors said David Dennis, 36, had been charged in connection with the murder, but the charges were dismissed Thursday. Prosecutors will make a decision on potential charges against Dennis when the Anchorage Police Department finishes its investigation, the statement says.
Dennis originally faced murder charges as an accomplice to the fatal shooting, said District Attorney Clint Campion.
Police made the initial decision to charge Dennis, and Campion said he signed off on it. But the officials acted on limited information, Campion said.
He assigned an experienced prosecutor to look more closely at the evidence with a view toward a grand jury indictment. That attorney determined there was not enough information to support a strong case, or charges provable beyond a reasonable doubt.
"The police did the right thing in making the decision based on the information they had at the time, but our job is to make sure that we are charging the right people with admissible evidence, and at this point we don't have that," Campion said.
However, Dennis plays a role in the allegations against Schauer.
The charges say police interviewed multiple witnesses and obtained video footage showing portions of what led up to the shooting.
Video footage obtained from the bar showed a tow truck parked in the lot behind Fourth Avenue, and police identified the driver as Dennis.
"Dennis hands Schauer a pistol from the cab of the truck. Schauer immediately begins to track Moren," the charges say. "Schauer is holding the pistol in his right hand."
During an interview with detectives, Dennis said Schauer gave him the pistol to put in the truck before the alleged shooting. When Schauer came out of the bar, he handed over the gun and watched him follow and shoot the victim, Dennis told police.
Dennis also said he wiped his fingerprints from the gun before giving it to Schauer, according to the charges.
The closing lines in the charging document alleged Schauer, in the presence of Anchorage detectives stated, "Tell David I fulfilled my obligation."
Campion said it's fair to reason Schauer was referring to Dennis, though the statement is missing context. The utterance is one of the reasons police and prosecutors believed Dennis was more directly involved in the shooting.
"There were observations by the police officers that there may have been drugs and alcohol involved, which is not surprising. This is a bar break event," Campion said. "So, that may have been crazy talk from someone who was impaired or intoxicated."
Prosecutors considered, and continue to look into, possibly charging Dennis with tampering with evidence, Campion said. They may decide on something else. It all depends on the police department's investigation, he said.
Schauer faces a sentence of 25 to 99 years in prison if convicted. He is being held on bail totaling $150,000.