March trial set for man charged in Tenakee killing

Posted: Sunday, July 18, 2004

The man charged with murder in the 2003 death of Maggie Wigen in Tenakee Springs is set to stand trial in March.

James D. Harmon, 25, in Juneau Superior Court on Friday agreed to waive his right for a speedy trial after attorneys said they could try the case in March 2005. The trial had been scheduled for Aug. 23 this year.

Harmon has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Ketchikan Superior Court Judge Trevor Stephens, presiding over Friday's hearing by telephone, scheduled the trial to begin on March 1 in Juneau. Attorneys said it could last three to four weeks.

Harmon is charged with seven felony counts, including first-degree murder and first-degree sexual assault against Wigen, a 19-year-old woman who lived in Juneau and Tenakee Springs. Her body was found on April 1, 2003, buried near the cabin where she was living in Tenakee Springs.

The grand jury indictment against Harmon also charges him with second-degree murder and attempted sexual assault, covering the same actions.

It further charges Harmon with second-degree theft from Wigen in the same time frame as the murder. Two first-degree attempted sexual assault charges allege actions against Wigen and another woman in Tenakee Springs on Jan. 1, 2003, after a New Year's Eve party in the community.

Harmon remains in the Lemon Creek Correctional Center in lieu of $750,000 bail. Juneau District Magistrate John W. Sivertsen set the bail amount at Harmon's initial appearance on May 21.

Assistant Public Defender David Seid asked Stephens to hold a hearing soon to reconsider his client's bail. Stephens scheduled the hearing for July 28. He said he would try to be in Juneau for the hearing and take up other pretrial matters.

Leaving court Friday, Seid said he will propose that along with reducing the amount of the bail, Harmon be placed under the full-time supervision of family.

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