Alaska Digest

Posted: Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Co-defendant gets three-year sentence

ANCHORAGE - A woman was sentenced Tuesday to three years in prison for her part in a drugs and sex ring that operated out of the home of a successful Anchorage businessman.

Bambi Tyree, 24, testified in federal court that she smoked crack cocaine with businessman Josef Boehm when she was just 13 and had sex with him when she was 14. She said she also saw him engaged in sex with juvenile girls on other occasions.

Over the next few years, between stints of living with friends and at McLaughlin Youth Center, Tyree said she returned to Boehm's house for drugs and money. She testified that the home in South Anchorage was rampant with sex and drugs, often involving youngsters in their early teens.

According to the indictment, Tyree also gave drugs to teenage girls who went to Boehm's house, his condominium and local hotels to have sex with him and others.

Tyree, one of three co-defendants in the case, got a reduced sentence for helping prosecutors with their case against Boehm. She had faced a 10-year minimum sentence.

Boehm, president of the Alaska Industrial Hardware chain, pleaded guilty to charges of conspiring to commit child sex trafficking and to providing drugs to people under age 21. He was sentenced last week to a maximum 11 years in prison.

Jury selection under way for murder trial

KENAI - Lawyers in the trial of a man charged with murdering a police officer will spend this week interviewing about 100 potential jurors.

David Forster is charged with shooting Kenai Police Officer John Watson on Christmas night two years ago. The 18-year veteran of the Kenai police force was shot in the head with his own service revolver.

Forster's trial before Judge Donald Hopwood is expected to begin Monday and last three weeks.

Twenty-one potential jurors were excused Monday based upon answers provided in written questionnaires.

Watson allegedly went to Forster's residence in Kenai on Dec. 25, 2003, in response to a trooper request for help in conducting a welfare check. Watson reported that Forster's vehicle was not at the residence, but as he was leaving he saw the vehicle drive past him.

Watson turned around and stopped the vehicle in Forster's driveway. A female companion of Forster's asked if she could take two dogs from the vehicle into the residence. Watson allowed her to do so.

A few minutes later, Watson radioed to police dispatch that he needed assistance. Troopers believe that Forster struggled with Watson and managed to get hold of his .45 caliber semiautomatic handgun.

An autopsy indicated that Watson was shot twice. The first shot struck him in the back between the shoulder blades. The bullet was deflected by his protective vest. The second shot was to the back of the head.

Enstar: LNG may be a temporary answer

KENAI - The president of energy company Enstar said it is considering importing liquefied natural gas to deal with projected shortages in Southcentral Alaska.

Enstar president Tony Izzo told a meeting of the Alaska Natural Gas Development Authority board that importing liquefied natural gas may be what's needed to deal with shortages in the future.

"Where we see things going, that's an option," Izzo said.

Enstar delivers natural gas to about 327,000 Alaskans. The company relies on contracts from gas producers to supply it with gas for its customers. It will be able to purchase enough natural gas to supply all of its customers through 2009. After that, however, the company will need to find other sources.

Enstar spokesman Curtis Thayer said importing LNG would hopefully be a temporary solution until larger quantities of Alaska natural gas could be delivered to the region. Enstar assumes that imported LNG would come from foreign sources, he said.

LNG is natural gas put into a liquid so it can be exported. A North Kenai LNG plant jointly owned by ConocoPhillips and Marathon was built in 1969 because of cheap and abundant supplies of natural gas in the region but is now in danger of closing. According to ConocoPhillips, it is the only export facility for LNG in North America.

Weather helps to fight border blaze

TOK - A forest fire near the border with Canada was about 50 percent contained Tuesday, a spokesman for the Division of Forestry said.

Bernie Pineda said from the division office in Tok that light drizzle fell on that community overnight Monday and may have reached the Island Lake fire 90 miles to the Southeast.

The fire has burned 1,300 acres north of Mile 1231 Alaska Highway about seven miles from the U.S. Customs station. The fire was not projected to spread Tuesday, Pineda said.

Eight firefighting crews with 195 personnel remained on the fire, focusing efforts on building fire line, Pineda said.

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