Man to alter plea in fatal crash case

Hearing set for motorist charged with killing two Juneau men in collision

Posted: Wednesday, August 09, 2000

A Kenai Peninsula man charged with murder in the April 19 drunken-driving deaths of two prominent Juneau residents has filed a motion for a change of plea hearing.

By changing his plea to no contest or guilty, Michael J. Glaser of Crown Point could avoid a jury trial and receive a negotiated sentence. His defense attorney, John Murtagh of Anchorage, filed the change of plea motion Monday in Kenai Superior Court, said Assistant District Attorney John Wolfe of Kenai.

``If Judge Jonathan Link approves the motion, the hearing would take place after a pre-sentence report is assembled,'' Wolfe said Tuesday.

State probation officials will compile the pre-sentence report, a procedure that usually takes 60 days, putting sentencing off until October or November, Wolfe said. Because the case is not settled, he said he could not comment further.

Murtagh requested Glaser's change of plea hearing and sentencing take place on the same court date, said Wolfe's paralegal, John Hocker.

Glaser, 43, was the driver and sole occupant of a pickup truck when it crossed the centerline at milepost 37.5 of the Seward Highway. His truck struck a rental car driven by Martin Richard, 50, of Juneau. Richard was killed, as was his passenger, Ladd Macaulay, 57. A second passenger, Steven McGee, was injured.

Richard was director of the Division of Investments for the state Department of Community and Economic Development. Macauley was a loan officer with the division. He founded Douglas Island Pink and Chum, a Juneau hatchery operator.

Tests conducted by Alaska State Troopers on Glaser after the crash showed a blood-alcohol level of 0.258 percent -- more than two and a half times Alaska's legal limit for intoxication.

Glaser was arrested by troopers on May 1 following his release from Alaska Regional Hospital where he underwent ankle reconstruction for injuries from the crash. He was charged with two counts of second-degree murder and one count of first-degree assault.

Murder in the second degree is punishable by at least five years but not more than 99 years in prison. Two sentences typically would run concurrently. First-degree assault carries a maximum term of 20 years.

Following his arrest, Glaser spent brief periods in jail at Cook Inlet Pre-Trial Facility in Anchorage and Wildwood Correctional Center in Kenai. After undergoing court-ordered substance-abuse treatment at an Anchorage facility, he was released on bail. He is in the third-party custody of his wife Kate, Wolfe said.

Glaser's attorney did not return repeated phone calls to his Anchorage office.

Steven McGee, a fisheries biologist with the Department of Fish and Game, returned to work at the beginning of July, switched from crutches to a cane at the end of July, and is undergoing physical therapy for his injured leg. McGee said he heard from the Kenai district attorney's office last week that Glaser pleaded guilty.

``I had a subpoena to testify (at the scheduled Aug. 14 trial), but I was not really looking forward to going up there and having to go through everything again,'' McGee said today.

``I think Glaser accepts that he ruined a lot of people's lives. I would like more than a slap on the wrist for him,'' he said.

``It's a weight lifted for us in many ways,'' said Bonnie McGee, Steven's wife. ``And we are thankful that Glaser has apparently shown great remorse. That gives us some satisfaction, although it's still a very sad situation for the other families.''

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