Couple pleads not guilty to charges in cabbie slashing case

Lawyer questions whether Violet St. Clair competent to stand trial

Posted: Wednesday, February 18, 2004

The attorney for the woman charged in the Jan. 7 robbery and slashing attack on cab driver Eric Drake said he is not sure his client is fit to stand trial.

Violet St. Clair, 18, and her husband Aaron St. Clair Jr., 20, entered not-guilty pleas during their arraignment Tuesday in Juneau Superior Court.

Violet St. Clair's attorney, Steven Wells, said via a telephone hookup in front of Judge Larry Weeks on Tuesday that he probably will file motions to get her juvenile court records to address questions about her competency to stand trial.

Weeks set a May 17 trial date for the St. Clairs.

The husband is accused of repeatedly stabbing Drake in an attack that began with the cab driver's throat being slashed, according to court records.

Charges against Aaron St. Clair Jr. include attempted first-degree murder and tampering with physical evidence in the case. Both St. Clairs are charged with first-degree assault and first-degree robbery.

Drake has told the Empire that the woman involved in the attack sat in the seat next to him as he dropped them off next to the Super 8 Motel on the night of the assault. She did nothing to stop it, he said.

According to court records, police allege that Violet St. Clair made the telephone call for the cab on the night the couple planned to rob a driver.

Aaron and Violet St. Clair have court-appointed attorneys. David Seid from the Juneau Public Defender's Office is representing Aaron St. Clair Jr. Wells is from the state Office of Public Advocacy. Wells was speaking Tuesday from Palmer.

The prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Doug Gardner, said he has identified 10 to 15 witnesses for his case. He said the trial could last two or three weeks.

"I don't know how long it will take with two (defendants)," he added.

• Tony Carroll can be reached at

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