Northwest Digest

Posted: Thursday, June 07, 2007

Judge stops trial for Nenana murder

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FAIRBANK - A rare murder trial in Nenana was halted after the judge in the case declared a conflict between the defense attorney and a witness.

Superior Court Judge Robert Downes dismissed the jury Tuesday and ordered suspected killer Charles Scott Stevens, 31, to find another attorney.

Stevens is charged with first-degree murder in the stabbing death of Billy Moreland, 19, outside a bar 15 months ago.

"I understand this puts you in a tough position," the judge told Stevens. "I hate like heck to do that."

The witness, Helium Unaliina Edwardsen, had sought legal advice from an associate in the firm of defense attorney William Satterberg, Downes said.

Prosecutors say Stevens had been drinking and was jealous of an ex-girlfriend when he started a fist fight March 5, 2006, in the Monderosa Bar outside Nenana, a Parks Highway community 55 miles south of Fairbanks.

According to prosecutors, the fight spilled outside the bar and Billy Moreland jumped in to protect his older brother, Travis.

Prosecutors say Stevens pulled out a knife and stabbed Billy Moreland. Defense attorneys contend a badly beaten Stevens was blinded by blood running down his face, took out the knife only to scare people and slashed no one.

Downes announced the mistrial Monday afternoon following a confidential hearing in Fairbanks. District Attorney Jeff O'Bryant had called for Satterberg's removal from the case.

Oregon sets new energy standards

SALEM, Ore. - Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski signed into law one of the nation's toughest renewable energy standards Wednesday, requiring large utilities to generate 25 percent of the state's electricity from renewable resources such as wind, sunlight and biomass by 2025.

Supporters said the measure will promote economic growth in Oregon's rural areas and make it a leader in the emerging clean energy, low-carbon marketplace.

"This bill is the most significant environmental legislation we can enact in more than 30 years that will also stimulate billions of dollars in investment," Kulongoski said. "We are protecting our quality of life, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, stimulating our economy - and protecting ratepayers with more stable and predictable utility rates."

The measure requires large electrical utilities to draw 5 percent of their power from renewable resources - other than existing hydroelectric dams - by 2011. The renewable share increases by increments to 25 percent by 2025.

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