Alaska Digest

Posted: Sunday, September 19, 2004

Ogan replacement names submitted

WASILLA - Republicans have submitted three names to the governor to fill the vacancy in state Senate Seat H left by the resignation of Scott Ogan, who was facing a recall vote in November.

The three candidates are Rex Shattuck, a sales consultant from Chugiak; Charlie Huggins, a retired Army colonel from Wasilla; and Lazy Mountain farmer Larry DeVilbiss, a member of the Matanuska-Susitna School Board and a former borough assemblyman.

Among those who failed to be nominated were former borough Mayor Darcie Salmon and Willow Republican Beverly Masek, who in the August primary lost her bid for re-election to a House seat she had held since 1994.

Ogan, a 52-year-old cabinet maker and business owner from Palmer, resigned his seat on Aug. 25. He had spent 10 years in the Legislature, including four terms in the House. Ogan was the subject of recall effort by a group of Matanuska-Susitna Borough residents, the Ogan is So Gone Committee.

The recall group contended that Ogan worked harder for his former employer, Evergreen Resources, than for his constituents in pushing for development of coal bed methane. The group contended Ogan's legislative activities enabled Evergreen to acquire coal bed methane leases, and that he knew legislation he supported would deprive his constituents of notice of the leases.

Ogan resigned from his $40,000 per year consulting job last fall amid conflict of interest allegations.

Gov. Frank Murkowski has 30 days to select someone to fill the Senate vacancy from among the three names submitted and then Senate Republicans must confirm the choice.

Officer named in shooting

ANCHORAGE - The name of the Anchorage police officer involved in a fatal shooting of a suspected home intruder was released Saturday.

Stephen M. Ondra, 41, shot and killed Tony Lee Harper Wednesday morning when the 45-year-old suspect pointed a gun at officers.

Ondra, a SWAT team member, joined the Anchorage Police Department in 1995.

Ondra was among the first officers to arrive at the site of the shooting where Harper shot and wounded two others, police said.

Officers tried to negotiate with Harper, but he pointed a weapon at them, police said. Harper was shot in the head.

Ondra was placed on paid administrative leave for three days. Police continue to investigate.

Charges filed in sex abuse case

PALMER - Additional charges have been filed against a Wasilla-area couple accused of severely abusing their five adopted children.

Sherry and Patrick Kelley face a total of 54 criminal charges between them, including 45 new misdemeanor charges added Friday.

The new charges include misdemeanor assault, criminal nonsupport of children and reckless endangerment. Those counts are on top of seven felony assault charges and two kidnapping charges levied Tuesday by a grand jury.

Sherry Kelley, 35, is charged with four more assault counts than Patrick Kelley, 43. Both have been in jail since Monday.

The Kelleys made a brief court appearance in Palmer Friday.

Defense attorneys waived a formal reading of the charges but entered initial pleas of not guilty.

The Kelleys adopted three girls and two boys who had been placed in their home by the state when they were licensed foster parents, and they continued to receive $3,400 a month in adoption subsidies for them, according to Alaska State Troopers.

The girls were ages 6, 14 and 15 and boys were 10 and 13 at the point troopers intervened and removed the children in July.

According to court documents, one boy was hit with a shovel in the face and suffered burns that went untreated, another was held in a coffinlike box, and a girl was hit in the face, bloodying her nose.

The children went hungry, were encouraged to hit each other, were kept out of school and were isolated on the grounds of the family compound between Big Lake and Wasilla, the documents say.

One of the Sherry Kelley's sisters, Sandra Forman, now has custody of the five children.

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