Former Thane camp manager charged

Posted: Friday, October 01, 2010

On Wednesday, Gordon Valle was issued a summons for violating a domestic violence restraining order prohibiting him from possessing firearms.

Valle was the Thane Campground manager when Jon Gregory Lane was shot twice in the face, allegedly by Christopher Barrios.

Barrios was initially charged with attempted murder before pleading guilty to third-degree assault.

Valle is shown on his MySpace page (A Dad With A Gun) pointing a Ruger Super Blackhawk .44 magnum revolver and a Smith & Wesson .44 revolver at whoever happens to log onto his site.

Underneath the photo the caption reads: "Who you trying to get crazy with essay? Don'chu know I'm loco?" Those words are the opening line to a 1993 song by Cypress Hill titled "Insane in the Brain."

Another photo shows a long line of eight rifles, with a caption reading "This is not all of them."

Court documents filed by the state show on March 31, the Juneau Police Department received a phone call from a victim and her attorney stating Valle had a long-term protective order against him prohibiting the possession of firearms. The order stipulated that Valle not use or possess a deadly weapon and was based on the court's finding that Valle was in the actual possession of or used a weapon during the commission of domestic violence.

Valle admitted to JPD Sgt. Dave Wrightson that he let Barrios use his .44 Magnum at Thane Campground when Lane was shot, according to court documents.

"He was the one who shot me," Lane said by phone Thursday. "And Gordon gave him the gun. Gordon was shooting too. They shot me, but Barrios pulled the trigger. Twice."

According to court documents and recordings of the Thane Campground shooting trial, witnesses could not confirm who fired the shots that struck Lane.

"The state's case against my client had significant problems that would have been difficult to overcome in trial," said Natasha Norris, Barrios' defense attorney. "None of the witnesses that were present during the shooting saw Mr. Barrios shoot Mr. Lane. There are some problems with Mr. Lane's identification of Mr. Barrios as the shooter. Gordon Valle, the owner of the two guns fired that night, made inconsistent statements regarding whether or not he was present during the shooting. In fact, Mr. Valle made many inconsistent statements. There was enough to point the finger at Mr. Valle as being the actual shooter."

When asked why Barrios entered into a plea deal with the state Norris said, "While Mr. Barrios has always maintained his innocence, he was unable to make bail. Given the problems with the state's case, a time-served resolution, without supervised probation, is the only deal Mr. Barrios would accept. It meant he could be released from jail now rather than sitting in jail for a few months waiting for trial."

District Attorney Doug Gardner said the evidence showed there were two .44 Magnums being shot that night at the campfire.

"And both of those guns had blood on them," Gardner said. "One of those guns was recovered from Mr. Barrios and the gun with the most blood was recovered from Mr. Valle."

Gardner also said in court that Lane never identified the person who shot him while at Bartlett Memorial Hospital or anywhere that night in Juneau.

"It wasn't until a week later at Harborview Medical Center (Seattle), after speaking with another resident from Thane Campground that Mr. Lane identified Barrios as the person who shot him," Gardner said during the trial. "Ultimately Mr. Barrios pled guilty to placing Mr. Lane in fear for shooting the gun and having the gun at the campsite."

"The state's case is only as good as the evidence, it has to play the cards it is dealt," Gardner said. "Reasonable jurors could have concluded it was unclear who shot Mr. Lane. So we resolved the case not from a position of strength but from a position of compromise."

Lane was interviewed Thursday in Seattle via phone and asked why he couldn't identify the shooter that night and didn't until days later.

"I don't know," Lane said. "Wait, I mean, I thought they shot me. I said they. I don't know."

Lane said he is trying to hire an attorney to seek charges against the city or against Valle.

Contact Klas Stolpe at 523-2263 or at

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