Staff and Wire reports

Posted: Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Attorney asks to delay murder trial

JUNEAU - The case against a 16-year-old Craig girl charged with conspiracy in the November death of her mother is too complicated to begin next week, according to her attorney.

Rachelle Waterman faces adult charges including first-degree murder and conspiracy in the death of her mother, Lauri Waterman, whose remains were found in the family's burning van on Prince of Wales Island Nov. 14. Her daughter was in Anchorage, participating in a high school volleyball tournament and her husband, Carl "Doc" Waterman, was in Juneau.

Juneau Superior Court Judge Patricia Collins received a motion from Assistant Public Advocate Steven Wells Tuesday seeking postponement the trial schedule to begin Feb. 3 in Craig, about 56 miles northwest of Ketchikan.

The indictment alleges Rachelle Waterman conspired with two 24-year-old men, Jason Arrant of Klawock and Brian Radel of Thorne Bay, to have her mother murdered.

"It is simply not possible for Ms. Waterman and counsel to be prepared," Wells wrote.

He argued that he had not received all of the state's evidence.

In her mother's death, Waterman also faces charges of second-degree murder, kidnapping, first-degree burglary, first-degree vehicle theft and tampering with physical evidence.

Her co-defendants face the same charges, as well as further evidence-tampering counts. Radel also faces a charge of criminal mischief.

Arts for Kids to hold open house

JUNEAU - Arts for Kids, a Juneau group that is raising funds for art programs in the elementary schools, will hold an open house Saturday.

The event, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School commons, will include presentations by storytellers and artists, and opportunities for children to make art.

Arts for Kids hopes to raise money to match part of a $175,000 grant the Juneau School District is seeking from the National Endowment for the Arts. The grant decision will be announced in April.

The local program would be modeled on a Fairbanks program in which a small number of art teachers travel from school to school. They also create bins of materials related to the lessons. Regular classroom teachers watch the art teachers and eventually present the lessons themselves.

Director pushes for gas-hydrates studies

FAIRBANKS - The director of Alaska's Division of Oil and Gas used his appearance before a Senate energy committee to tout the potential of the state's gas hydrates.

Mark Myers, who is a geologist, appeared briefly Monday before the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. He told the committee that Alaska's gas hydrate deposits are immense.

Gas hydrate is a substance composed of methane molecules trapped in cages of water molecules, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It looks like ice but will burn. Hydrates are found in vast quantities in ocean sediments below about 1,500 feet and under Arctic permafrost, but no one has figured out how to harvest their energy yet. Myers encouraged Congress to spend $70 million on research into how to capture the gas.

Man arrested in Anchorage homicide

ANCHORAGE - A man has been arrested in the fatal shooting of one man and the wounding of another, Anchorage police said Tuesday.

Alando Mark "Simba" Modeste, 21, was arrested Monday and charged with second-degree homicide, first-degree assault and two counts of evidence tampering, police said. Bail was set at $250,000.

Police were called to a Spenard-area residence Jan. 23 in response to a report of a shooting.

Officers found Aaron Roberts, 40, lying on the ground. He had been shot in the head. Roberts later died. It was the city's first homicide of the year.

Daquan Stinson, 21, was shot in the chest but survived.

Stinson told police that Modeste and Roberts argued about a woman "Modeste beat up over a drug transaction," charging documents said.

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