Murder suspect opts to represent himself at retrial

Second trial in shooting death of Brandon Cook set for October

Christopher D. Strawn appears in Juneau Superior Court on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017, during his first trial on charges in the murder of 30-year-old Brandon C. Cook at the Kodzoff Acres Mobile Home Park Oct. 20, 2015. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire file)

Homicide suspect Christopher D. Strawn will represent himself when his case heads back to trial, currently set for October.

 

Strawn still faces charges of first- and second-degree murder, manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, third-degree assault and weapons misconduct in the 2015 shooting death of Brandon Cook. His first trial abruptly ended in a mistrial in February.

[Judge declares mistrial in trailer park killing]

Strawn, 33, opted to “fire” his court-appointed attorney, Eve Soutiere, late last month, and has asked for standby counsel to be appointed to assist him. A reason for the requested dismissal was not given in open court.

His trial currently is set to start Oct. 2 and the prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Amy Paige, has indicated she opposes any continuance. A status conference has been scheduled for July 25, with a trial call set for Sept. 22.

Strawn is accused of shooting Cook “execution style” on Oct. 20, 2015, as he helped friend Tiffany Marie Albertson paint the kitchen in her trailer in Kodzoff Acres Mobile Home Park on Mendenhall Loop Road.

Police found Cook dead on the kitchen floor with a gunshot wound to the back of his neck and head, according to a police officer’s report.

Albertson described the shooting to Juneau Police Department officers as completely unprovoked. She reportedly said she heard a loud bang and saw Cook drop to the floor, and saw Strawn about 10 feet away holding what she described as a short-barreled shotgun with a pistol-style grip.

Soutiere had successfully called for the mistrial in Strawn’s case after his ex-girlfriend — who had specifically been cautioned against making any references to domestic violence — blurted out a reference to the barred testimony.

Juneau Superior Court Judge Philip Pallenberg agreed, ending a trial that was already in its second week.

Pallenberg subsequently denied a motion by Soutiere that argued for a permanent end to any criminal prosecution of Strawn due to double jeopardy.


• Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 523-2246 or liz.kellar@juneauempire.com.


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