Jury picked for man accused of shooting friend

Kenneth E. Nalan, 36, left, sits with his attorney Eric Hedland in Juneau Superior Court with Judge Louis Menendez presiding for the beginning of jury selection on Monday. Prosecutors allege Nalan shot his friend John N. Duran, 33, in the face with a .357-caliber gun at Nalan's house in the Mendenhall Valley the night of Dec. 20, 2011.

After about five hours in court, jury selection was completed Monday for a Juneau man on trial for allegedly shooting his friend in the face last December.

Opening remarks and arguments were pushed back to begin Tuesday morning in the case against Kenneth E. Nalan, 36.

Prosecutors allege Nalan shot his friend John N. Duran, 33, with a .357-caliber gun during a small get-together at Nalan’s house in the Mendenhall Valley the night of Dec. 20, 2011. Alcohol was being consumed at the time, police said earlier.

As the Empire reported previously, Duran survived the incident, but had to undergo facial reconstruction surgery.

On Monday, District Attorney David Brower and Nalan’s attorney Eric Hedland whittled down the pool of 32 prospective jurors to 14 on Monday.

Eight of those are women and six are men. Two the chosen 14 prospective jurors will serve as alternates.

The trial is expected to last the rest of the week with Juneau Superior Court Judge Louis Menendez presiding.

Brower told the court he is anticipating calling eight witnesses to the stand, including Duran. Five other witnesses are the police officers who responded to the scene, and the remaining two were at the residence at the time of the shooting.

Nalan’s family members maintained the shooting was an accident, they told the Empire earlier, and Hedland on Monday told the judge he filed a notice of filing of self-defense.

Hedland said he plans on calling at least one character witness, who will appear by phone to testify on Nalan’s behalf.

Menendez told Nalan he had the right to testify in his own defense, but that if he didn’t, it couldn’t be held against him. Menendez said Nalan didn’t have to decide that day whether he was going to testify, and Nalan didn’t indicate either way whether he was planning on it.

Nalan was arrested the day after the shooting and later indicted on one count of first-degree assault, a felony. He has been out on bail, in the custody of a third-party custodian, since January after the judge found he was not a flight risk.

If convicted, Nalan could face up to 20 years in prison.

• Contact reporter Emily Russo Miller at 523-2263 or at emily.miller@juneauempire.com.


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