State briefs

Posted: Tuesday, May 21, 2002

Man sentenced in abuse case

JUNEAU A Haines man will spend the next eight years in state prison for molesting a 6-year-old girl.

Richard Warren, 23, was found guilty of felony first-degree sexual abuse of a minor earlier this year by a Juneau jury. He was sentenced in Juneau Superior Court today to eight years at the Lemon Creek Correctional Center and sex offender treatment therapy.

The jury found Warren innocent of second-degree sexual abuse of a minor, a lesser felony charge. Warren "digitally penetrated" a young girl while he visited her home in May 2000, according to charges.

Warren testified at his sentencing hearing that he believed he was going to jail because his attorney, Philip Pallenberg, did not subpoena any witnesses on his behalf and because he is an Alaska Native.

Superior Court Judge Larry Weeks praised Pallenberg as "one of the finest attorneys there is to have in Alaska," and characterized the attorney as someone who is "zealous" in defending his clients. Weeks also said Warren's race is not the reason he's going to jail but the fact that he molested a 6-year-old girl, who also happened to be an Alaska Native.

Weeks admonished Warren for not taking responsibility for his crimes and said he anticipated Warren, if he did not change his attitude, would be back before the court again once he is released.

Halcro decides not to run again

JUNEAU - Anchorage Republican Rep. Andrew Halcro says he won't seek re-election in the fall.

Halcro, 37, said in a statement Sunday that responsibilities to his family and the family business - the Avis car rental franchise for Alaska - prevent him from seeking a third term.

Halcro was one of the leaders of a move to enact new taxes to cut the budget gap. He said he was leaving the door open to run for political office in the future.

In the new redistricting plan, Halcro is in the same district with Rep. Norm Rokeberg, also a Republican.

Anchorage man stabbed after stopping assault

ANCHORAGE - A man who intervened when he saw a woman being beaten was stabbed Sunday.

Kurt Falke, 39, said he had just gotten off his job as a bouncer and reacted instinctively when he saw a man "shoving a really tiny woman into a wall" downtown at about 1:30 a.m. Sunday.

He yelled at the man and approached the pair. The man attempted to slug him. Falke ducked and came back with his own punch that knocked the man down.

Thinking the assault was over, Falke then turned to leave. But the man tackled Falke before he got a few feet. They wrestled around for a couple of minutes, and then the man got loose and ran away.

Falke stood up and realized he was bleeding. "He stabbed me while we were on the ground," he said.

The man had driven the knife into Falke's left side, puncturing his lung. He lost two pints of blood, he said.

A witness called the authorities. Anchorage police say the witness's account backed up Falke's story, and police are looking for the man with the knife, who was about 40 years old and about 5 feet 8 inches tall.

When faced with this type of situation, people need to decide how much risk they are willing to take, said police spokesman Ron McGee. "He did a very brave thing trying to step into the middle of it," McGee said.

At 218 pounds, Falke said he figured, "If you want to pick on someone, come pick on me."

Anchorage woman mauled by dog

ANCHORAGE - A Rottweiler mauled an Anchorage woman in Chickaloon on Sunday afternoon, Alaska State Troopers said.

Ethel Mscichowski, 55, was visiting a friend, Charles Lonewolf, when the 130-pound animal attacked her, troopers said. The dog severely mangled Mscichowski's right arm and injured her leg.

She lost a large amount of blood and was taken to Valley Hospital in Palmer. She was later transferred to Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage, where she was listed in stable condition Monday after surgery.

Lonewolf surrendered the Rottweiler to Mat-Su Animal Control. It will be destroyed, troopers said.

Chickaloon is 76 miles northeast of Anchorage on the Glenn Highway.

Federal grants buy bulletproof vests for law enforcement

ANCHORAGE - More than a dozen law enforcement agencies in Alaska will share more than $56,000 in federal grants to buy bulletproof vests, Sen. Ted Stevens said Monday.

The Juneau Police Department will get $10,733. The money comes from the Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Assistance.

Other Alaska recipients include Alaska Department of Corrections, $3,139; Municipality of Anchorage, $2,360; Ketchikan Police Department, $3,994; and Kodiak Police Department.

Man changes plea in methamphetamine case

FAIRBANKS - A man charged with running a methamphetamine lab reached a plea agreement Monday requiring him to serve five years.

David E. Harris, 48, was arrested last May after drug agents raided his attic apartment at 812 Fifth Ave. in a quiet downtown residential area.

Harris had been set to go to trial on multiple drug charges this week but instead pleaded no contest to one count of second-degree misconduct involving a controlled substance.

As part of the agreement, Harris will receive a five-year jail sentence with no probation or suspended time.

Drug agents raided Harris' lab May 4, 2001, following a tip and a couple of months investigation. State troopers said the lab was the first in the Interior to use a "cold cook" method, using a chemical reaction involving anhydrous ammonia to generate heat and cook the drug.

Methamphetamine is an addictive stimulant. Labs that produce it are dangerous because of the volatility of the ingredients.

Fire damages buses in ship

ANCHORAGE - Four buses were damaged and 35 cars were covered with soot when a fire broke out in the belly of a cargo ship at the Port of Anchorage.

The blaze on the Totem Ocean Trailer Express ship Greatland was reported at 12:36 p.m. Sunday. It was put out by the ship's onboard carbon dioxide fire suppression system, said Anchorage Fire Department spokeswoman Bridget Bushue.

Firefighters found that the blaze started in the engine compartment of a Laidlaw school bus. The bus was one of eight to 10 being shipped to Seattle, Bushue said. The fire heavily damaged two buses and caused less severe damage to two others. The walls of the ship's hold were blistered.

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