Waterman seeks to reschedule second trial

Posted: Friday, November 20, 2009

KETCHIKAN - A young woman accused of conspiring to kill her mother five years ago is seeking to delay the start of her second trial.

Brian Wallace / Juneau Empire
Brian Wallace / Juneau Empire

Rachelle Waterman's lawyer, Steve Wells, asked a Ketchikan Superior Court judge to move the trial from January until at least April, citing scheduling conflicts. Judge William Carey gave the lawyer until Nov. 25 to submit a motion, and scheduled a pretrial hearing for Dec. 17.

Waterman, whose first trial in Juneau ended in a hung jury, was 16 in November 2004 when her mother, 48-year-old Lauri Waterman of Craig, was murdered by two men now serving long prison sentences.

One of the killers, Jason Arrant, testified at Rachelle Waterman's first trial that he and Brian Radel were carrying out the wishes of Rachelle Waterman, who claimed her mother abused her.

Both men were former lovers of the teenage girl, from the time she was 15 until she turned 16.

Rachelle Waterman provided a statement to investigators that was played in court during her first trial. Following the trial, Superior Court Judge Patricia Collins tossed out the statement, agreeing with Wells that the confession may have been coerced. Because of the weight of the statement in the state's case, the judge also threw out the indictment.

But Ketchikan District Attorney Stephen West appealed Collins' decision. The case went to the Alaska Court of Appeals, which in December reinstated most of the statement. West then obtained a new indictment charging Waterman with murder and six other charges.

Waterman, now 21, pleaded innocent. She is free on $50,000 bond and living out-of-state.

Lauri Waterman's body was found by a hunter north of Craig, a small fishing and logging town on Prince of Wales Island. Police determined she had been suffocated after her killers botched an attempt to break her neck and make her death look like a drunk-driving accident.

Arrant and Radel, both 24 at the time, burned Waterman's minivan with her body inside in an attempt to destroy evidence.

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