Man sentenced in wife's murder

Posted: Friday, April 06, 2007

KETCHIKAN - A Ketchikan man has been sentenced to 99 years in prison for murdering his wife and for other crimes.

Earl Pickering was found guilty of tampering with evidence, weapons misconduct and violating a domestic violence restraining order in connection with the death of Carolyn Frisby Pickering.

Assistant District Attorney James Scott said Pickering's wife obtained a domestic violence restraining order after he beat her. She died of a gunshot to her head in her home on Nov. 30, 2005, the same day Earl Pickering was released from Ketchikan Correctional Center on a misdemeanor conviction for assaulting her.

Carolyn Pickering's brother, Percy Frisby, recalled her talents as an athlete, wide circle of friends and rich family life.

"Carolyn always chose to seek the jobs that kept her out in the outdoors. She worked in logging operations, longshoring, commercial fished."

In 1981, she was the first female logger trained by Sealaska Corp., said Frisby.

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Scott said her estranged husband and a minister had both encouraged her to have contact with Earl in spite of the domestic violence restraining order.

Scott said she was subjected to cruelty and possibly torture before being murdered by Earl Pickering.

Superior Court Judge Michael Thompson said isolating Pickering from society was the most important factor in determining the sentence.

"There is no limit for Mr. Pickering," Thompson said Wednesday. "He doesn't know when to stop."

Pickering chose not to speak before Thompson sentenced him.

Ketchikan Public Defender Marvin Hamilton asked the judge to accept the explanation that Pickering had accidentally fired the .44-caliber bullet that killed his wife. Hamilton suggested a 20-year sentence, the maximum for manslaughter.

Thompson said he didn't mention future probation conditions because there is little chance that Pickering, now 61, will be released before he dies.

"I think that's pie in the sky," said Thompson. "I just can't picture that ever happening."

Carolyn and her father enjoyed sport fishing and hunting together, said Frisby. Their father was recovering from a serious illness when she died, he said.

"When that happened, my father gave up," said Percy Frisby. "It's like, your daughter's never supposed to be taken from you this way. And my father just gave up. So, we now had lost Carolyn. We also lost my father."

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