KETCHIKAN — A second trial for a woman accused of conspiring to kill her mother in 2004 is scheduled to begin next week in Anchorage.
The Ketchikan Daily News reports that Judge William Carey ordered the trial of Rachelle Waterman moved from Ketchikan after determining it would be difficult to seat an impartial jury. The defense has sought the change of venue.
District Attorney Stephen West said attorneys expect to learn Friday whether jury selection will begin Tuesday or Wednesday.
Two men have pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the case and are in prison.
The body of 48-year-old Lauri Waterman was found by a hunter north of Craig, a small fishing and logging town on Prince of Wales Island.
Jurors deadlocked in the 2006 trial of Rachelle Waterman, who was 16 when prosecutors say she conspired to kill her mother near the southeast Alaska community of Craig. The judge at the time threw out the indictment and some evidence against Waterman, saying a statement she made to police was coerced.
Parts of the statement were later reinstated, on appeal by West. A second indictment was later returned.
Waterman, now 22, has pleaded not guilty in the case.
Waterman’s attorney, Steven Wells, told The Associated Press on Thursday that Waterman is “eager to get things moving. I think all parties are ready to go to trial, but sometimes things just take a little while.”
The trial is scheduled to last four weeks.
Carey will preside over the trial. The Ketchikan Daily News reports that Carey agreed to move the trial “with great, great reluctance.”
He said it followed the results of questionnaires sent to prospective jurors in which half believed Waterman was at least “probably guilty.” Carey said it might be possible to seat a jury — 84 Ketchikan-area respondents said they either hadn’t heard of the case or had no opinion of it. But if a jury couldn’t be seated, he said the logistics of moving the case within the four weeks alloted for the trial “are somewhat daunting.”
“This case absolutely needs to get done at this time,” he said.
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