Judge sets April dates for couple in meth case

The Juneau couple who were allegedly making methamphetamine in their house on Kanata Street are slated to stand trial in April.


Juneau Superior Court Judge Louis Menendez scheduled a 10 day trial to begin on April 22 for Jennifer T. Hartsock, 36, and Benjamin James Parson, 35.

Both codefendants pleaded not guilty to multiple felony drug charges during their arraignments on Tuesday and Thursday.

Hartsock is represented by defense attorney David Mallet and Parson is represented by the Public Defender Agency, but they are to be tried jointly unless one of their lawyers moves to sever their cases.

Alaska State Troopers say they executed a search warrant at their home on Dec. 13 and found six “one-pot” methamphetamine labs and other associated items.

Troopers allege that Hartsock and Parson, as well as three other Juneau residents, bought more than the legal amount of pseudoephedrine from various pharmacies in Juneau in order to make the meth.

Troopers began investigating the case after arresting two men in Hoonah for operating “one-pot” meth labs there.

Hartsock and Parson were indicted by a grand jury last Friday, and they are each facing three class ‘A’ felonies for drug misconduct as well as five class ‘C’ felony counts for purchasing or receiving restricted amounts of chemicals.

The maximum punishment for an ‘A’ felony is 20 years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine, and for a ‘C’ felony, five years in prison and/or a $50,000 fine.

Parson, who told the judge that he owns a welding business in Juneau, is being held in custody on $20,000 bond. Hartsock, who said she has been unemployed and looking for work for the past four months while collecting unemployment benefits, is being held on $15,000 bond.

Hartsock also told Menendez that she has three children, but her ex-husband has primary custody.

According to electronic court records, Parson does not have a prior felony conviction. Records show he was convicted of a misdemeanor last year for violating a protective order.

Court records show Hartsock does not have any prior convictions.

An omnibus hearing in the case is set for Feb. 9, and a pretrial hearing is set the week before trial for April 15.

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


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