Family and family friends helped two Mountain View homicide suspects hide from police during a three-week manhunt, according to new details outlined in court documents.
The case began April 12 when Sosaia Finau was found shot to death in the Anchorage neighborhood. In the weeks that followed, police searched for suspects Mickee Thompson, 19, and Robert Smith, 18, who are alleged to have both shot Finau multiple times as Finau stepped in to break up an argument.
The pair escaped capture until May 3, when police found Thompson and Smith at a trailer home in Anchorage's Spenard neighborhood, APD says. Police say the men had help — including assistance from one of their mothers — in avoiding arrest.
On Thursday, the five people accused of aiding the murder suspects made their first court appearance at the Anchorage jail. All five have been charged with first-degree hindering prosecution, a felony.
The five people are Thompson's mother, Mandy Premo, and her sister, Randi Premo. A woman that authorities say is "believed to be" another of Premo's sisters, Anna Andrews, and her husband, Jude Andrews, have also been charged. Lastly, Tabithia Mattie, who police say had been in a relationship with the Premos' brother, is also accused of helping the murder suspects, according to a criminal complaint.
Nicole Vaitohi, advocate for Finau's family, said she wasn't surprised that Thompson's family has been accused of harboring the men.
"Now, it's probably hurting their family even more, because during a time like this, now they've caused all this extra hardship," Vaitohi told reporters outside of the Anchorage jail on Thursday.
Charges filed in the homicide case say that soon after Finau was shot on April 12, Mandy Premo arrived at the Mountain View apartment in a red Chevrolet Tahoe. Video footage shows Thompson placed something in the back seat of the car. Thompson then took off running with Smith.
Where the men were hiding from April 12 to April 24 is not discussed in court documents. The Premo sisters later told police that they learned of the men's whereabouts on April 24.
Anchorage police repeatedly contacted both Mandy and Randi Premo, court documents say. Officers had been told via "early tips from the public" the women had been helping the two men.
On April 24, after learning of the men's location, Randi Premo and Mattie drove them to Mattie's apartment on the 900 block of Karluk Street, court documents say. The men stayed there for six days, until April 29, when Thompson and Smith wanted to find another place to stay.
In the early morning of April 29, Mandy and Randi Premo dropped the men at a trailer in the 3400 block of Spenard Road, an Anchorage police detective wrote. Anna and Jude Andrews followed close behind, according to the complaint.
In video footage, Anna Andrews is seen going into the trailer with what looks like several bags of groceries. All six of the people, including the homicide suspects, go inside the trailer and stay a while, court documents say.
On May 1, police got a tip that Thompson and Smith were hiding in Mattie's Fairview home. Officers began surveillance on the apartment. A few days later, after the suspects' capture, Mattie would admit that the men had stayed there, court documents say.
On May 3, a tip led detectives to the Spenard trailer, where officers saw a woman leaving. She admitted that both the men were inside. Thompson and Smith were arrested.
Both men were charged Monday with first- and second- degree murder.
On Friday, all five who have been charged with hindering prosecution were released from jail on unsecured bail of between $2,000 to $5,000, meaning they only have to pay if they break the conditions of their release.
A judge ordered each person not to have contact with each other, or the murder suspects – except for Anna and Jude Andrews, who live together. They were ordered not to discuss any aspects of the criminal cases.
Maximum penalties for first-degree hindering prosecution are 5 years in prison, a $50,000 fine and five years probation.