Posted: Friday, April 20, 2001

Onstott charges expanded by grand jury

JUNEAU - James W. Onstott, 61, the man arrested after a six-hour standoff at a local church on April 8, was indicted by a grand jury in Juneau on April 13 on 10 counts of third-degree assault.

Each count states he "unlawfully and recklessly placed (a person) in fear of imminent serious physical injury by means of a dangerous instrument; to wit, a gun." Each of the 10 counts names a different person present at the church, including Onstott's estranged wife, Laurie, the Rev. William Nelson and his wife, Karen, and two police officers.

Onstott is confined at the Lemon Creek Correctional Center. His public defender, David Seid, said Tuesday that his client intends to ask for a jury trial and to plead innocent.

Assault victim improves slightly

JUNEAU - The 43-year-old woman who was severely injured in an assault last week in a vacant house downtown is improving.

"Her condition remains serious," said Marijo Toner, regional affairs coordinator at Bartlett Regional Hospital. "But she appears to have stabilized. She is no longer deteriorating; there is hope for improvement."

Juneau Police Capt. Tom Porter said officers have still not received permission from the woman's doctors to interview her.

Donald Seaman, 46, was arrested on a charge of first-degree sexual assault and is being held at the Lemon Creek Correctional Center.

House approves primary election plan

JUNEAU - A bill that would bring Alaska's primary elections into compliance with federal law was approved Thursday by the state House.

The bill calls for the Division of Elections to prepare a primary election ballot for each political party. A voter affiliated with a political party could vote only on that party's ballot. Voters not affiliated with a party could vote the ballot of their choice unless the party's bylaws prohibit voting by non-members.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year in a California case that states cannot force one party to allow members of other parties to vote in the selection of its candidates.

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