Pretrial deadlines set in Craig murder case

Prosecution still has evidence to turn over to defense

Posted: Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Attorneys have until Jan. 20 to file motions to move or postpone a trial for a 16-year-old Craig girl and two men charged with conspiring to kill the girl's mother.

Rachelle Waterman sat handcuffed and nearly alone in a Juneau courtroom Tuesday morning for a hearing to go over deadlines in advance of the trial, scheduled for Feb. 3 in Craig. Her attorney, Steven Wells, appeared by telephone from his office in Palmer. Juneau Superior Court Judge Patricia Collins presided over the hearing by telephone from Seattle.

Jason Arrant of Klawock and Brian Radel of Thorne Bay, both 24, accused of carrying out a murder plot while Waterman was in Anchorage, appeared by telephone from Ketchikan. The prosecutor, Assistant Ketchikan District Attorney Daniel Schally, also was in Ketchikan Tuesday.

"I really don't want to comment on (possible) motions," Wells said later in the day when contacted about the possibility of filing for a later date or a new location.

Asked if a Feb. 3 trial date is realistic, he said Tuesday's hearing showed the prosecution still has extensive evidence to turn over to the defense, including about 55 recorded conversations. "There's a lot to have gone over in about 40 days."

Waterman, an inmate at the Lemon Creek Correctional Center, is charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder in the death of her mother, Lauri Waterman, 48, whose remains were found Nov. 14 in the burning family minivan near Thorne Bay.

The younger Waterman was representing Craig High School in a volleyball tournament the weekend her mother died. Craig, on Prince of Wales Island 56 miles northwest of Ketchikan, has a population of about 1,200.

State troopers allege Radel murdered Waterman's mother and he and Arrant attempted to burn the minivan and destroy other pieces of evidence.

The indictment charges all three with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, second-degree murder, kidnapping, first-degree burglary, first-degree vehicle theft and tampering with physical evidence.

Alaska law automatically treats 16-year-olds as adults when they are charged with first-degree murder.

Defense attorneys said they do not plan to argue their clients were insane, incompetent or were suffering from diminished capacity.

• Tony Carroll can be reached at tony.carroll@juneauempire.com.



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