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Grand jury indicts shooting suspects

Police: Woman who claimed she was held captive is still under investigation

Posted: December 17, 2013 - 12:07am
Steven D. Thomas, 32, makes his first appearance in court on Monday. Thomas is one of four defendants who were indicted Friday in connection to a pair of shootings in Juneau on Dec. 6.  Michael Penn | Juneau Empire
Michael Penn | Juneau Empire
Steven D. Thomas, 32, makes his first appearance in court on Monday. Thomas is one of four defendants who were indicted Friday in connection to a pair of shootings in Juneau on Dec. 6.

A Juneau grand jury has indicted four people in connection to a pair of drug-related shootings that took place earlier this month at a Mendenhall Valley apartment complex and on Egan Drive.

The indictments were issued Friday against James Depasquale III, 45, Jerall N. Torres, 24, Kenneth Ketah Jr., 33 and Steven D. Thomas, 32. The codefendants are now slated to be arraigned in Juneau Superior Court at a later date.

No one was killed or critically injured in the shootings, which prosecutors say were motivated by the sale of heroin.

Prosecutors said Depasquale and Ketah confronted Torres at the Coho Park Apartments on Dec. 6 for not selling the heroin Depasquale gave him. Torres claims he shot Depasquale after he was hit and threatened by a gun.

Ketah and Thomas are accused of then shooting at Torres and two passengers in a moving vehicle on Egan Drive several hours later. Torres later admitted to police he returned fire.

The indictment charges Depasquale, who survived being shot in the arm and in the shoulder, with eight felony offenses for weapons and drug misconduct, assault and tampering with physical evidence. Ketah is facing nine similar charges, and Thomas faces five.

Torres was indicted on two charges for drug and weapons misconduct.

Three of the four were arrested earlier this month and have already made their initial appearances in court. Thomas, whose nickname is “Chunk,” was arrested over the weekend and made his first court appearance Monday before Juneau Superior Court Judge Philip Pallenberg.

Police said they arrested Thomas on Saturday afternoon after locating him at a house in the 2800 block of Mendenhall Loop Road. Police said in a release they found Thomas as he tried to exit through the house’s rear window.

Prosecutors have not yet brought their case against Amanda M. Phillips, 26, to the grand jury. Phillips is accused of hiding one of the guns used in the Coho Apartments shooting.

In an interview Monday, Assistant District Attorney Amy Williams said Phillips has agreed to waive her right to an indictment until January, which means Phillips could be indicted at a later date.

The indictments issued Friday show that Phillips testified as a witness against the four defendants in the case.

Another woman, named in court documents as Stacie Arnold, 22, also testified against the defendants at the grand jury proceeding.

Police confirmed Monday that Arnold is still under investigation for filing a false kidnapping report. She originally claimed she was held captive at gunpoint by Torres and Phillips, but police later announced she was voluntarily involved with the pair.

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

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