AFN objects to plea agreement reached after paintball attack

Posted: Friday, July 20, 2001

ANCHORAGE One of three young men charged in a paintball attack on Alaska Natives has reached a plea agreement in which he will admit videotaping the shootings, prosecutors said Thursday.

Charles Deane Wiseman, 20, of Eagle River, will plead guilty or no contest to three counts of misdemeanor assault in connection with the paintball attack on Alaska Natives in downtown Anchorage. The attack outraged the Alaska Native community and prompted the Legislature to condemn the incident and all hate crimes, racism and wrongful discrimination.

The plea agreement incorporates the complaints lodged in the other four counts, prosecutors said.

Wiseman will have to admit to his part in the attacks on seven people the evening of Jan. 17, prosecutors said. When he is sentenced, Wiseman will be allowed to dispute making racist statements recorded during the attack.

The Alaska Federation of Natives does not like the deal and will protest at the sentencing.

"An attack on Alaska Natives because of our race is a hate crime. A hate crime of any kind that involves violence certainly falls in line to be classified as a felony," said AFN spokesman John Tetpon. "We are disappointed that plea agreements are coming down in an event that is one step short of using real bullets."

Wiseman and two younger men, both 17, set out from Eagle River on the evening of Jan. 14 and drove to downtown Anchorage to, in their words, go "hunting" for "drunk Eskimos," according to court documents.

The juvenile in the front passenger seat was the principal shooter, firing at all the victims except for one fired at by the driver, prosecutors said.

John J. Novak, chief assistant district attorney for Alaska, said Wiseman sat in the back seat and videotaped the attacks. He said Wiseman also helped lure victims closer to the car.

The two other young men face proceedings in juvenile court.

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