Homicide suspect surrenders to police

Posted: Friday, August 19, 2005

WASILLA - A Wasilla man wanted in connection with a two-week spate of violence that ended in February with a dead body and a burned cabin surrendered to police on Thursday.

Claude Hale, 24, walked into the lobby of the Palmer Police Department and surrendered Thursday afternoon. He was being held on a $100,000 cash bail.

According to Alaska State Troopers, Hale shot and killed Jeremiah Butler, 26, on Feb. 14.

Hale, who just got out of jail in an unrelated case, is one of seven men indicted last week by a Palmer grand jury on charges stemming from a series of beatings and break-ins connected to the slaying. The charges range from assault and burglary to murder.

On Wednesday, troopers arrested William Bogart, 26, of Peters Creek after he turned himself in to Soldotna troopers after reading an account of his indictment on assault and burglary charges in the newspaper, troopers spokesman Greg Wilkinson said.

On Feb. 15, the day after the shooting, Hale turned himself in for violating probation on a previous theft conviction in the Glennallen area, trooper investigator Mike Burkmire said. He remained jailed for the next five months and after serving his sentence was released July 12 - a month before the grand jury indicted him for first-degree murder.

Burkmire said prosecutors couldn't finish with the grand jury in time to beat Hale's release.

Also in custody are Timothy D. Jones, 38, of Willow; Scott A. Schaefer, 27, of Wasilla; Michael P. Bay Sr., 42, and his son Michael P. Bay Jr., 22, both of Wasilla; and Louis D. Moon, 36, of Anchorage.

Jones, an auto shop owner, enlisted his longtime buddies and fellow methamphetamine cooks to rough up Michael Plummer because Jones thought Plummer was having an affair with his wife, Burkmire said.

Plummer told investigators he and Jones' wife only sent each other friendly text messages and talked on the phone a few times, Burkmire said.

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