Witness testimony, police records clash in Price robbery trial

Authorities cannot explain how a man on foot traveled five miles in 17 minutes while drunk

Posted: Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The state's ability to connect Duwaine Price to both robberies officials allege he committed last October rests largely with their ability to prove that the 39-year-old Juneau artist threatened to shoot people at both locations.

Price is on trial for two counts of robbery, one of theft and two of assault for the Oct. 1 robberies of two coffee shops, in which the state argues he threatened to shoot people both times. No gun was found at either scene.

Police arrested Price after he allegedly tried to rob Capital Brew downtown less than 20 minutes after a 911 call reporting an attempted robbery at the Heritage Coffee stand in Grants Plaza.

The state claims the suspect walked up to the window and threatened to shoot Stephanie Dennis if she didn't give him money. She hid and the suspect walked away, Assistant District Attorney Jack Schmidt said Monday.

Police and prosecution also claim that 17 minutes later, Price threatened to shoot people at Capital Brew while robbing them. Police cannot explain how a man on foot traveled five miles in 17 minutes while drunk.

At least two victims of the Capital Brew robbery attempt testified Tuesday during the state's presentation of evidence that Price threatened to shoot while holding his hand in a jacket pocket.

Defense attorney Eric Hedland argued in court Tuesday that no police investigation report or police field recording contains any witness statement that Price threatened to shoot them last October.

Police investigations into both crimes were conducted and concluded on Oct. 1. Police said no follow up interviews were conducted.

Police and victims allege Price was trying to rob Capital Brew when the owner and nearby employees subdued Price to a bloody mess on the coffee shop floor. As three men held Price to the floor, Nick House, Capital Brew owner, said he beat him in the head with a large flashlight,.

"I hit him a lot," House said. "In my mind I wanted to put him unconscious or kill him."

On Tuesday, House testified that a big man in dark clothing came into his shop said, "Give me your money or I'll shoot you." House said the man punched him in the head. He said the suspect was wearing a ski mask and he never saw his face.

"I gave him the money," House said. "Then he said he wanted more."

Capital Brew employee Arianna McDonough also testified Tuesday that the man said, "Give me all your money or I'm going to shoot you."

Juneau Police Officer Brian Dallas interviewed both that day and on Tuesday told the jury that, after reviewing recordings and reports, he could find no record of any statements made by McDonough or House that the robber threatened to shoot or kill them.

Dallas said that not all the interviews were recorded and he believes that someone said Price threatened to use a gun.

"I don't recall if she said that or not," Dallas said.

Price asked for money and was drinking and didn't mean to hurt anyone, Dallas said.

Price's trial is expected to end today following more testimony from Dallas. Davis is also expected to appear on the witness stand, followed by the defense's argument.



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