Cab driver sentenced in Dillingham killing

Posted: Sunday, November 09, 2008

ANCHORAGE - City officials in Dillingham refused to provide information about how the community regulates taxis after a cab driver was sentenced to 104 years in prison for murdering a local woman.

A jury in April convicted Cress Carney, 45, of strangling Natalia Timurphy in 2006 and hiding her body in a wooded area off one of the Dillingham's main roads.

He was sentenced Thursday to 104 years in prison.

Carney was allowed to drive a cab despite a lengthy criminal history.

According to prosecutor Ben Hofmeister, Carney had more than 30 prior convictions over 20 years, including charges of assault and sexual assault.

Janice Shilanski, Dillingham's city manager, refused to provide any information on how her community regulates taxis. No one else at the city office was allowed to speak with the media.

Steve Hunt, a member of the city council, told the Anchorage Daily News the city manager didn't have to provide that information.

"Go dig it up," he said, and hung up.

Carol Shade, another member of the council, owns a cab. She said no one told her she had to have a special permit or check the background of drivers to run a cab in the city.

She said she could not speak to specific city regulations. She voluntarily does background checks on her drivers, she said.

Timurphy, 41, was a mother of five. She was engaged to be married when she was murdered.

When last seen, Timurphy was highly intoxicated and leaving a bar, according to Hofmeister, the prosecutor. An autopsy put her blood alcohol level at more than twice the legal limit for driving, he said.

According to investigators, Carney picked Timurphy and two others up in his cab.

He dropped the others off and she stayed in the cab.

Carney eventually confessed to strangling Timurphy and leaving her body in the woods. He told police they had consensual sex, Hofmeister said.

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