Woman will be retried for conspiracy in mom's death

Posted: Friday, December 17, 2010

KETCHIKAN - A woman accused of conspiring to kill her mother outside the southeast Alaska community of Craig six years ago will be retried in January.

Rachelle Waterman was a 16-year-old high school student in November 2004 when she was accused of conspiring with two former boyfriends, Jason Arrant and Brian Radel, to kill Lauri Waterman. The 48-year-old woman's body was found by a hunter north of Craig, a small fishing and logging town on Prince of Wales Island.

Rachelle Waterman's first trial ended in February 2006 with a hung jury. After the jury deadlocked, a mistrial was declared and the indictment against Waterman thrown out, as well as her statements to police, which were an important part of the state's evidence.

The Alaska Court of Appeals restored parts of Waterman's statement, and Ketchikan District Attorney Stephen West obtained a second indictment.

Superior Court Judge William Carey on Wednesday set a new trial date of Jan. 18 in Ketchikan, the Ketchikan Daily News reported. He also said he would make provisions to move the trial if a jury cannot be seated.

Waterman's attorney, Steven Wells, said he has blocked out four weeks for the trial in case the court cannot seat a jury in Ketchikan. West agreed with Wells that if the trial must move, Anchorage might be a better location than Juneau.

Carey said he would talk to the presiding judge in Anchorage to make sure the court system could accommodate a trial on short notice.

Prosecutors say Waterman's killers botched an attempt to break her neck and make her death look like a drunken-driving crash. They allegedly burned Waterman's minivan with her body inside.

Both men pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and agreed to testify at Waterman's trial. They are serving prison terms.

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