Man accused of multiple assaults with gun and truck changes plea

Posted: Friday, March 25, 2011

A Juneau man arrested and arraigned on multiple counts stemming from an incident Oct. 26, 2010, where he allegedly entered a local business and threatened people inside with a gun, then later tried to injure them with his pickup truck, entered a guilty plea in Juneau Superior Court in a change of plea hearing before Judge Patricia Collins on Thursday.

Zachary Moeser had faced seven counts of third-degree assault, a class C felony.

Through a plea agreement with defense attorney Kirsten Swanson and district attorney Dave Brower, Moeser would plead to one count of Assault in the Third Degree for recklessly placing Shawn Swift in fear of imminent serious physical injury by means of a dangerous instrument by pointing a gun at him.

Moeser would also admit to the aggravating factor that the incident involved three or more people.

A class C felony carries up to 5 years in jail and a $50,000 fine. A first offense would be in the up to two-year range but the Legislature allows for courts to go up to 5 years if aggregating factors exist.

The agreement included Moeser not admitting guilt to count 8 of the indictment, harassment in the first degree, but admitting to the facts of the charge, a class A misdemeanor.

An open sentencing hearing was scheduled for May 2 at 9 a.m. and is expected to last four hours as witnesses for both the defense and the state will be heard. Moeser’s original trial had been set to begin on Tuesday.

Swanson asked that the court remove third-party custodianship for Moeser who is out on bail, but keep all other stipulations intact.

The state opposed that motion, as did Swift, who was in the courtroom.

“Just keep it as it is,” Swift said. “I have noticed a few instances where they have driven by the shop. I am most comfortable with the third party thing.”

Bower asked that the court rule that Moeser be ready to report to jail the day of sentencing and Collins confirmed that the law contemplates that if jail time is going to be imposed that the defendant reports that day, or the next day.

Collins kept Moeser’s conditions of release intact and he is not to have contact with victims or go to their home or place of work.

According to a Juneau Police Department report from the day of the incident and court documents, the JPD received a report of two males fighting in the parking lot of Foreign Auto on Mendenhall Loop Road with a gun involved in the fight.

On arrival, an officer saw a several people arguing around a Chevy pickup parked behind the Foreign Auto building. The driver of the truck accelerated rapidly toward the bystanders. The truck then backed away. It began to drive away and then backed up toward the bystanders again, causing them to jump out of the way to avoid being struck. The driver of the truck then sped off at a high rate of speed, departing the area.

Responding officers located the truck, conducted a traffic stop and detained Moeser.

Moeser had reportedly entered Foreign Auto and confronted a worker. He produced a handgun and pointed it at the worker and two other subjects while being verbally abusive and threatening them with the gun.

Moeser and one of the victims went out to the parking lot where a physical struggle ensued. Moeser eventually got into his pickup truck and continued to argue with the victim. Moeser used his truck in an apparent attempt to run the bystanders over.

During the traffic stop, a handgun was recovered from the pickup.

After Moeser’s arrest he told Juneau Police Officer Tanya James he was going to shut the victim up permanently. Moeser said he brandished a gun, according to a criminal affidavit.

The affidavit also stated Moeser said he was going to use the gun to beat the victim “so bad with it that his own mother wouldn’t even be able to recognize him.” Moeser also said he wouldn’t need a gun to kill anyone, as he could do it with his own two hands, the affidavit states.

According to the affidavit, Moeser also said he envisioned pinning the victims between the bumper of his truck and the building because “anyone messes with my truck and they will die.”

Since his bail release, Moeser has been back on regular medication and in a doctor’s care and according to acquaintances is back to his normal self.

• Contact Klas Stolpe at 523-2263 or at klas.stolpe@juneauempire.com.



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