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Cold case murder trial to begin in spring

Accused Wash. state man to be tried in Juneau for 1996 Yakutat crime

Posted: August 5, 2012 - 12:09am

The cold-case murder trial for a man accused of killing his girlfriend at a Yakutat lodge in 1996 has been rescheduled for March.

Juneau Superior Court Judge Louis Menendez granted an unopposed request from Robert D. Kowalski’s attorney Eric Hedland to allow the trial to begin March 11. It was slated to begin in November.

Kowalski waived his right to a speedy trial during a hearing Friday. The trial is scheduled to last three weeks.

Hedland said both sides anticipated motion practice to be lengthy and more time was needed.

Cold case prosecutor Paul J. Miovas Jr., with the Attorney General’s Office of Special Prosecutions and Appeals, said the family was anxious to begin the trial, but was amenable to a reasonable schedule since the case involves complex litigation.

Kowalski, 51, is accused of fatally shooting his then-girlfriend, Sandra M. Perry, in Glacier Bear Lodge in Yakutat where the couple was vacationing from Washington in July 1996.

Alaska investigators at the time had ruled the death accidental, but re-opened the case in January 2009 after Kowalski was charged and convicted in the 2008 murder of his girlfriend in Montana.

A deposition that lasted a little more than an hour was held in the case Friday but was closed to the public.

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

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