The man accused of committing an armed robbery at a Juneau jewelry store was charged in Juneau Superior Court Monday.
Judge Patricia Collins accepted a not guilty plea from Nathan Block’s attorney Eric Hedland to a charge of first-degree robbery, a class ‘A’ felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Block was arrested at approximately 6:30 p.m. March 29 in the 600 block of West Willoughby Avenue, roughly five hours after he allegedly pointed a gun at a clerk in the South Franklin Street jewelry store Lambros Goldsmith, tied her up and took items from the store.
Collins set a three-day trial to begin July 11. An omnibus hearing is slated for 8:30 a.m. May 11, with a pretrial hearing to follow June 29.
District Attorney Dave Brower asked Block be held without bail.
Hedland reminded the court the Alaska Constitution requires the court set bail except in capital offenses and said Block had honorably served his country in the military.
Brower said the state was seeking a $500,000 because Block pulled a gun on a person at least twice in the course of the attempted robbery.
“Especially when someone doesn’t have any ties to the community,” Brower said. “Block stated he had nothing to lose and would shoot the person if she didn’t cooperate.”
Hedland said he disagreed, “I don’t recall the witness saying that Mr. Block threatened to shoot her.”
Collins read the exact phrase given by the witness as, “I don’t want to but I will shoot you, I have nothing to lose.”
Collins stated it was an extremely serious charge and Block had few if any ties to the community and set a $500,000 cash performance bond.
The state was not aware of any prior arrest history concerning Block and was researching his military background.
One concerned friend called from Minnesota and said Block was from Elk River, Minn., had served in “the thick of it in Iraq,” and upon release had tried to get a fishing job in Alaska.
“We know Nate as a funny, lovable, loves to play music, happy kid,” friend Sarah Cramer said. “I’m really shocked that this happened. He must have just reached a breaking point, I don’t know.”
Cramer said she received a phone call from Block just more than a month ago and said he definitely sounded different, “like something had snapped.”
Cramer said a Facebook site has been set up for Block so concerned friends could relay information.
• Contact reporter Klas Stolpe at 523-2263 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.