Trial delayed in murder of teen pizza-parlor worker

Posted: Friday, November 25, 2005

ANCHORAGE - The trial in the killing of a teenage worker at a pizza restaurant six years ago has been delayed again.

Public defenders representing the alleged killer, Barry Anderson, said this week that their agency represents someone the state plans to call as a prosecution witness. They say a conflict of interest bars them from continuing to represent Anderson.

"The public defender agency had an irreconcilable conflict of interest, which made it impossible for it to proceed and ensure all parties a fair trial,' assistant public defender Gary Soberay said Wednesday.

Superior Court Judge Mike Wolverton agreed, meaning new lawyers will have to be assigned and given time to prepare for the case before a trial can begin.

No attorney had yet been given the case, said assistant public advocate Jim Parker.

A hearing about the new direction of the trial, as well as the status of 14 jurors selected last week, will be held Dec. 1.

Anderson allegedly shot and killed Keith Dirkes, 18, at Godfather's Pizza in September 1999.

Dirkes was a student at University of Alaska Anchorage working nights as a manager at the now-closed fast food outlet.

According to charging documents, Dirkes was closing the restaurant when Anderson knocked on the door and asked to use the restroom.

Anderson was a former Godfather's employee and known to Dirkes, so he opened the door. Police said Anderson pulled a gun, forced Dirkes into a walk-in freezer, robbed him, then shot him twice in the head.

Anderson, 29, denies pulling the trigger in the shooting.

The trial has been repeatedly delayed by the defense's efforts to keep statements Anderson made to an informant from being used by prosecutors at his trial.

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