Crime & Courts

Half-dozen arrested in North Pole shooting death

A half-dozen people have been arrested in connection with a July 22 homicide in North Pole, including a man found guilty of beating a man to death in 2008.

According to the Alaska State Troopers, four adults and two juveniles were taken into custody Friday in the shooting death of 60-year-old Charles Baptiste. Troopers said the arrests were made following a "complex" investigation that included help from the Fairbanks Police Department, the FBI, the DEA and the Statewide Drug Enforcement Unit.

According to an online trooper dispatch, Joshua Erickson, 38, and Mealani Jones, 36, "recruited" a pair of 17-year-olds to help them rob Baptiste with the assistance of 35-year-old Jeremiah Kinnish. On July 22, the five suspects allegedly went to Baptiste's home with the intent of robbing him at gunpoint.

Troopers said Baptiste and another resident, 50-year-old Wayne Daniel, were confronted by two masked robbers, who barged into the residence and shot both men. Daniel survived the shooting; Baptiste did not.

Jones, Erickson and Kinnish were taken to Fairbanks Correctional Center Friday on charges of murder, robbery, conspiracy to commit robbery, assault and misconduct involving weapons. Also arrested was 19-year-old Kyle Morris, who troopers said helped Jones and Erickson plan the robbery. The two juveniles were taken to the Fairbanks Youth Facility.

Kinnish, Erickson and Jones are convicted felons, troopers said, and both Erickson and Kinnish were on probation or parole at the time of their arrest.

Troopers said Kinnish was on mandatory parole for misconduct involving a controlled substance and escape charges, while Erickson was on probation/parole for a criminally negligent homicide conviction. According to the Kodiak Daily Mirror, Erickson was sentenced in 2013 to 13 years in prison with two suspended for the 2008 beating death of Darrell Cavaness at a Kodiak apartment.