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Crime & Courts

Man accused of preparing room where gang member would be beaten pleads guilty to kidnapping

A man federal prosecutors described Wednesday as an “associate” of a violent white supremacist prison gang has pleaded guilty to kidnapping for his role in the killing of one of the gang’s members.

Prosecutors say Michael Staton, 34, was kidnapped, beaten and killed on Aug. 3, 2017 by members of the white supremacist 1488 gang to which he belonged. (Photo Alaska State Troopers)

Beau Cook, 32, is one of six men charged in the 2017 kidnapping, beating and killing of 1488 gang member Michael Staton, 34, who prosecutors say went by the nickname “Steak Knife."

According to the plea agreement for a previously convicted gang member, the men beat Staton and bound him with duct tape and rope before shoving him in the trunk of a car and driving him to a vacant duplex in Wasilla, where they beat him again and burned a gang tattoo from his ribcage with a heated knife.

The plea agreement claims another associate of the gang had accused Staton of stealing several items from him, including a valuable Hells Angels motorcycle vest and drugs Staton was supposed to have sold.

Prosecutors say Cook prepared a bedroom in the duplex for Staton’s beating by covering the floor and walls with painter’s plastic. Cook, they said, watched other members of the gang beat Staton and burn his tattoo off before assisting them in loading the still-living man, wrapped in the painter’s plastic, into the back of a vehicle.

Prosecutors said two 1488 members then drove off with Staton to an isolated area of the woods, where they shot him and burned his body, according to a detention memorandum in the case.

They claim Cook later cleaned up the area where Staton had been beaten and received a shot of heroin as a reward for his participation.

Cook is one of at least three defendants in the case who has pleaded guilty to a charge. Two gang members, Nicholas M. Kozorra and Dustin J. Clowers, previously pleaded guilty to murder in aid of racketeering.

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