Northwest Digest

Posted: Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Two men charged in girl's death

ANCHORAGE - Two men indicted by a grand jury on charges of distributing something akin to a date-rape drug to two minors - one of whom died - appeared in federal court Monday.

Glade Lusk, 22, and Matthew O'Connor, 25, are charged with distributing a controlled substance that caused the death of the girl in 2003.

The drug was 1,4, Butanediol, also known as BD, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Anchorage.

Lusk entered a not guilty plea before U.S. Magistrate Judge John D. Roberts. O'Connor deferred entering a plea until he could consult with his court-appointed lawyer.

Roberts scheduled arraignment for both on Wednesday.

The grand jury indicted the two men on two counts of distributing BD to a 16-year-old girl and a 19-year-old girl in June 2003. Anchorage police believe the girl who died took the drug voluntarily. She died in an apartment in the Spenard neighborhood.

The drug is chemically similar to GHB, the date rape drug.

GHB, originally sold as a substitute for growth hormones to build muscle and reduce fat, depresses the central nervous system. It also has a reputation for producing euphoric feelings without the hangover that can result from drinking alcohol. GHB also can cause loss of inhibition and memory loss.

Lusk and O'Connor were arrested last week. The indictment says they distributed BD to the 19-year-old on June 11, 2003 and then the 16-year-old the next day.

Kasilof murder trial slated for August

KENAI - The trial of a Kasilof woman charged in the shooting death of her boyfriend in 2003 is scheduled for August.

Kenai Superior Court Judge Charles T. Huguelet set an evidentiary hearing for Aug. 5, with the jury trial for Betsy Hester to begin sometime the following week.

Hester, 52, is charged with second-degree murder for allegedly killing John E. Clark, 49, of Kasilof, on Oct. 4, 2003, in what appears to be a domestic dispute.

Former Kenai District Attorney Dwayne McConnell said during a bail hearing that Clark and Hester had been drinking and arguing at the Decanter Inn in Kasilof the night before the shooting. They went to their home where the argument continued and apparently became physically violent.

Clark reportedly slapped Hester numerous times in the face, McConnell said. As he got up to go to the kitchen - again threatening bodily harm - she allegedly shot him with a 9mm pistol twice in the back and once in the thigh, he said.

Hester then called Alaska State Troopers to report the shooting.

She was taken into custody Oct. 18 after turning herself in at trooper headquarters in Soldotna following an indictment.

Kenai won't renew manager's contract

KENAI - The Kenai City Council will not extend the contract of city manager Linda Snow.

The decision came during an executive session that followed the council's regular meeting last week.

"We just decided in the best interest of the city we would not renew the city manager's contract," said Kenai Mayor Pat Porter.

Citing the confidentiality of an executive session, Porter would not give specifics on the decision.

Snow's contract expires July 16.

Snow has been city manager since 2001. She previously worked as Petersburg's manager for seven years and as McGrath's city administrator for nine years.

Renowned quilter to visit Wednesday

JUNEAU - Tricia Brown, author of "Fresh Air in the Attic: Welcome Makeovers for 7 Classic Quilts," will be signing copies of her book from 1:30-3:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 13 at Changing Tides, 175 South Franklin St., on the second floor of the Senate Building.

Brown has written several nonfiction books for adults and two for children, inclluding "Children of the Midnight Sun" and "Groucho's Eyebrows," illustrated by Barbara Lavallee.

Brown is traveling on the Sapphire Princess cruise ship, instructing a group of quilters in a trip organized by The Pine Needle Quilt Shop in Lake Oswego, Ore.

Vatican OKs removal of Seattle priest

SEATTLE - A once-prominent Seattle priest who retired in 2002 has been removed from ministry because of credible child sex abuse allegations against him, Catholic Archbishop Alexander Brunett announced Monday.

No details about the allegations have been made public.

James Gandrau, 72, whose name has not previously surfaced in connection with sex abuse allegations, served as the editor of the Catholic Northwest Progress - the Seattle Archdiocese's newspaper - for nearly two decades, from 1960-77.

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