State Briefs

Posted: Friday, November 02, 2001

Second murder jury is hung

KETCHIKAN - The murder trial of Jose M. "Che" Mateu, charged in the January 2000 shooting of his father, again ended in a mistrial.

A Ketchikan Superior Court jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict on Wednesday after three days of deliberations. Mateu's first trial in May also ended in a hung jury.

Mateu, 18, was charged with first-degree murder and tampering with evidence in the Jan. 13 shooting death of his father, Jose R. Mateu.

District Attorney Steve West argued that "Che" Mateu shot his father after they ate dinner together.

Defense attorney Louis Menendez of Juneau argued that most of the state's case is speculation.

Prosecutors could not say when Jose R. Mateu died, and defense witnesses contested some lab tests the prosecution used as evidence.

West will decide within 10 days whether to try Mateu a third time, he said.

Reception erupts in fight

HYDABURG - Alaska State Troopers said a Hydaburg man was arrested for allegedly exposing himself at a wedding reception and instigating a fight.

Jamie Edenshaw, 24, was charged Wednesday with felony assault, two counts of misdemeanor assault, and indecent exposure, a misdemeanor, and was taken to the Craig jail.

Edenshaw's common law wife, Winifred Guthrie, 21, was arrested on two counts of misdemeanor assault.

The arrests stemmed from an incident at a wedding reception Oct. 28. According to trooper Robert Claus, the two were invited guests. Edenshaw was using the restroom when he heard a commotion outside the door, Claus said.

"When he heard the ruckus he threw open the door without pulling up his trousers," Claus said. "This offended several people in the room and hence the indecent exposure charge."

A fight ensued after Edenshaw opened the door, Claus said. During the 12-person melee a man was hit in the head with a chair, another was punched in the face, requiring stitches, and another received a lump on his head, Claus said.

The three men were taken to the Hydaburg clinic for treatment of their injuries, troopers said.

Jury finds doctor guilty

ANCHORAGE - A doctor was found guilty Thursday of lying to get a medical license and prescribing powerful narcotics to drug-seeking patients, even though he knew some of the drugs were being sold to buy illegal drugs.

The Superior Court jury found Dr. Jeffrey Gottlieb guilty of all 234 counts. Gottlieb was charged with stealing over $240,000 from Medicaid, writing more than 200 prescriptions where there was no medical need and lying to the state to get an Alaska medical license.

Gottlieb, 50, had little reaction when the verdict was read, but as he was being led from the courtroom in handcuffs, he turned and said, "Drop dead."

Sentencing was set for Jan. 18. Defense lawyer Allen Dayan said Gottlieb likely will appeal. He's being held without bail.

Prosecutors said Gottlieb wrote prescriptions from his Anchorage apartment, where he also smoked marijuana and drank with patients.

Prosecutors said he did no medical workups, no physical exams, took negligible notes and had no treatment plans before prescribing powerful narcotics.

The jury also found Gottlieb guilty of lying to the state medical board in 1992 to get an Alaska medical license. Gottlieb received his medical education at schools in Mexico and the Caribbean, but failed to get a certificate upon completion of a one-year postgraduate program.

When Gottlieb applied for his medical license, the person who usually reviewed the requests was on sick leave and the job was handled by someone less knowledgeable, prosecutors said.

The system is much more sophisticated now, said Assistant Attorney General Steve Branchflower, who is head of the state medical fraud office.

Survivors tell of copter crash

ANCHORAGE - The Era Aviation helicopter that crashed in Cook Inlet last month went down without warning as it flew low over the water, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

The two survivors of the Oct. 18 crash told the NTSB there was no obvious sign of mechanical failure in the helicopter, chief investigator Kurt Anderson said. He said the cause of the crash remains unknown.

The crash killed Era pilot Bob Larson and Federal Aviation Administration technicians Joyce Tucker and Ronald Frizzell.

Survivors Steven Durand and William Dick, also with the FAA, said it was snowing heavily when the helicopter lifted off from Fire Island, where the FAA was working on navigation aids. As the craft headed across the channel toward Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, it descended to what one survivor estimated to be 10 to 15 feet above the water.

The snowstorm had reduced visibility to what they called a whiteout, Anderson said.

"They both said they saw the helicopter's skids drag through the water," Anderson said. "The pilot made a kind of a rapid pullup, and after that their stories are a little bit different, but there were a lot of erratic movements of the aircraft; the pilot was moving the controls around a lot.

"That lasted anywhere from five to 10 seconds, until they hit the water hard," he said.

Man arrested for shooting

ANCHORAGE - A Brevig Mission man was arrested after he fired a shotgun into a village building, Alaska State Troopers said.

Kenny Henry, 18, endangered children playing in a nearby school gym when he fired at least one shot into the building Tuesday night, troopers said. Troopers said Henry appeared to be intoxicated during the incident.

Officers found a bullet hole in one house, which was occupied during the shooting.

Henry was charged with third-degree assault, a weapons violation, and reckless endangerment.

Alfred Kakoona, 23, was charged with furnishing alcohol to a minor, importation of alcohol into the dry village, drunken driving, vehicle theft, and fourth-degree assault.

Robert Kakoona, 22, was charged with importation of alcohol and a probation violation.

The three men were arraigned in Nome on Wednesday.

Moose makes off with swing set

ANCHORAGE - Wildlife biologists on the Kenai Peninsula are looking for a moose that dragged off an 18-foot swing set from a Nikiski yard.

Parts of the swing have been found but biologists believe the animal is still tangled in chains.

"This moose will be pretty easy to recognize," said Larry Lewis, a state wildlife technician. The smashed swing set could cause problems for the moose, even though the bull will soon lose its rack for the winter, he said.

"We figure he's still carrying at least 8 to 10 feet of bar, plus two legs and three swings," swing set owner Jennifer Wallis said.

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