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Judge firm on bail for Waterman

Girl accused of conspiracy in mom's murder leaves courtroom in tears

Posted: Wednesday, December 29, 2004

A 16-year-old Craig girl charged with her mother's murder left a Juneau courtroom in tears Tuesday after the judge rejected a plan that would have allowed her to return home to her father while awaiting trial.

Rachelle Waterman, accused of orchestrating the death of 48-year-old Lauri Waterman, returned to the Lemon Creek Correctional Center with her required bail still set at $150,000. Half would have to be paid in cash and the other half in cash or corporate securities, Juneau Superior Court Judge Patricia Collins said.

In addition to the defendant posting money, the court would have to approve someone to watch her at all times.

Waterman's attorney, Assistant Public Advocate Steven Wells, appearing at the hearing by telephone from his Palmer office, requested the bond be reduced to $50,000, with $10,000 being posted in cash. He proposed that she be under 24-hour supervision of her father, Carl "Doc" Waterman, "about 95 percent of the time."

Carl Waterman, from a Craig courtroom on Prince of Wales Island, 56 miles northwest of Ketchikan, testified that he would pay the bail, mostly from savings with the remainder coming from a line of credit.

"I think we ask too much to put him in that position," Collins said, while ruling the bail amount originally set by Craig Magistrate Kay Clark remained appropriate.

"I have to be conscious to the danger to the community," Collins added. She said she was concerned with the possibility of the defendant harming herself or being harmed by others.

Rachelle Waterman was representing Craig High School at a volleyball tournament the weekend her mother was killed. Human remains discovered Nov. 14 in the family's burning minivan were identified as Lauri Waterman later in the week. State troopers reported she had been bludgeoned to death.

By the next weekend, state troopers had arrested Rachelle Waterman and two 24-year-old men - Jason Arrant of Klawock and Brian Radel of Thorne Bay - with felony charges including first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. The trial is scheduled to begin Feb. 3 in Craig, although defense attorneys have until Jan. 20 to file motions to change the date.

Wells also proposed that two other Craig residents, Ralph Mackie and the Watermans' next-door-neighbor Don Pierce, be available to watch Rachelle Waterman when her father could not.

He said she poses little risk of disappearing because she is well-known in Southeast Alaska and the community is so small that people would know if she tried to leave Prince of Wales Island by ferry or floatplane. He also said she poses little risk to public safety because even the prosecution is not arguing that she physically killed her mother.

He said he believes Arrant and Radel lied to authorities.

Ketchikan Assistant District Attorney Daniel Schally, also participating by telephone, called the girl the "lead domino" in her mother's murder.

Noting that the "weight of the evidence" is a factor in considering bail, he outlined his case. He said Rachelle Waterman had planned the murder for months with Arrant and Radel, failing on previous occasions. He said she had romantic relationships with both and had manipulated them.

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



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