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Court roundup

Posted: May 7, 2013 - 9:41pm  |  Updated: May 8, 2013 - 12:07am

4 Juneau residents charged with dealing prescription pills

A confidential informant working with the Juneau Police Department helped indict four Juneau residents on felony drug charges, according to the indictments.

Court documents show the informant, whose identity is not revealed in court papers, assisted police in conducting controlled buys of prescription pills during February and March. The cooperation resulted in a grand jury handing up the indictments on Friday.

The defendants are listed as: Julia M. James, 37, Jenny V. Sharclane, 37, Bennett L. Tackett II, 35, Charla J. Bennett, 31.

Each of the defendants are charged with two counts of second-degree drug misconduct for dealing either hydrocodone, oxycodone, Percocet or Vicodin. Second-degree drug misconduct is a class ‘A’ felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Court records show warrants were issued for their arrests the same the day the indictments were handed up. Information contained in the warrants indicated their last known addresses were all in Juneau.

No other details about the cases were available since grand jury proceedings are confidential. The case went straight to the grand jury, which means no documents establishing probable cause were filed in court.

JPD declined to comment on the cases during a phone interview Tuesday.

A Juneau grand jury also charged two men with burglarizing five homes in Yakutat on April 26. Codefendants Kenneth J. Bremner, 26, and Killian P. Long, 18, were each indicted on five counts of first-degree burglary, a class ‘B’ felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

• Editor’s Note: Indictments are formal accusations of illegal activity, and they are not indicative of guilt. The District Attorney’s Office in Juneau presents cases to the grand jury each Friday.

Jury convicts man of sex assault for grope on city bus

A jury last week convicted a man of sexual assault and harassment for groping a woman with Down’s syndrome on a city bus in Juneau last fall.

The jurors deliberated for three hours before announcing their verdicts on Wednesday. The trial lasted three days in Juneau Superior Court.

Joseph A. Zeh, 53, was found guilty of third-degree sexual assault, a felony, for having sexual contact with a person who is mentally incapable, and first-degree harassment, a misdemeanor, for offensive physical contact by touching through clothing.

Prosecutors say Zeh began touching the woman’s genital area on the outside of her pants after approaching her on the bus. Surveillance video camera footage on the bus and an eye witness helped identify Zeh as the perpetrator.

Assistant District Attorney Nick Polasky says Zeh could either be facing two to 12 years in prison, or eight to 15 years, depending on whether a judge finds Zeh has a prior felony conviction or not.

He is slated to be sentenced later this summer in July.

Man gets suspended jail time for indecent exposure

A Juneau man pleaded guilty last week to second-degree indecent exposure for masturbating in his car in the Costco parking lot in January.

Juneau District Court Judge Thomas Nave sentenced James Trucano, 57, on Thursday to 90 days in jail with all time suspended, meaning no time to serve. The judge ordered Trucano be on probation for two years and imposed a $2,000 fine with $1,000 suspended.

The Juneau Police Department cited Trucano on Jan. 23 when a woman reported Trucano was staring at her while masturbating in the car. The woman had a 3-year-old child with her, and there was another mother with her kids nearby, according to the citation.

Trucano pleaded guilty as charged to the misdemeanor offense, which encompasses exposing one’s genitals with reckless disregard “for the offensive, insulting, or frightening effect the act may have,” according to state statutes.

Indecent exposure in the second degree before a person under 16 years older is a class ‘A’ misdemeanor, but it becomes a less serious class ‘B’ misdemeanor if it is before a person older than 16.

The maximum punishment for the crime could have been 90 days in jail with a $2,000 fine.

Trucano did not return phone messages Tuesday seeking comment.

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

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