Posted: Wednesday, January 31, 2001

Distraught man talked out of harm

JUNEAU - A local man who was receiving counseling at Gastineau Human Services began to make statements about suicide Tuesday, but was talked out of it by a police negotiator.

"He called us because he had developed a relationship with a counselor he felt he could trust," said Andy Swanston, operations director of GHS.

GHS alerted the Juneau Police Department about the man about 12:23 p.m. The man had been calling from a room on the second floor of the Alaskan Hotel on South Franklin Street, and claimed to have a handgun in his possession.

Officers secured the hotel's second floor. Negotiators established phone contact with the man and were able to calm him. He was taken into custody without incident at 1:40 p.m. He was taken to Bartlett Regional Hospital for evaluation, said Capt. Tom Porter of JPD. No weapons were found at the scene.

The man was a hotel guest and was otherwise well behaved, clerk Charlie Howard said.

Murderer sentenced to 104 years

ANCHORAGE - A man convicted of killing a reporter for the Alaska Star newspaper in 1998 was sentenced Tuesday to 104 years in prison.

Randall Smith, 38, will have to serve nearly 70 years before becoming eligible for early release for good behavior.

Smith killed reporter Bill Hall on the night of Nov. 10, 1998. Hall was shot eight times in the head as he backed his truck out of the newspaper's parking lot in Eagle River. The men did not know each other and it's not known why Smith killed Hall.

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