A Kenai Superior Court judge next Tuesday will sentence a man who killed a Seward woman 29 years ago.
Jimmy Eacker is charged with killing Toni Lister, who was 29 when her body was found April 17, 1982, in the woods near the Seward city dump. She had been sexually assaulted and stabbed in the chest, head and neck with a screwdriver, according to authorities.
Eacker originally was charged with first- and second-degree murder. In December 2011, he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of manslaughter after years of legal proceedings.
Cold case investigators with the Alaska Bureau of Investigation in Soldotna began reviewing the case in 2006 at the request of Seward Police, and Eacker was arrested in late August in Fairbanks, where he had been living for several years.
A jury convicted Eacker in 2010, and he was later sentenced to 99 years in prison. However, Judge Anna Moran threw out the conviction because a prosecutor withheld additional DNA evidence that might have pointed to another suspect. Moran has remained the case's presiding judge.
At the December 2011 change of plea hearing, officials declined to comment on why Eacker agreed to a plea agreement after such a long time.
Lister's relatives, who have been highly involved in the legal proceedings, were included in the plea decision, said Paul Miovas, state cold case prosecutor.
Sentencing is scheduled for May 29, 8:30 a.m. at the Kenai Courthouse.
Dog shot after charging troopers
A dog was shot in the head Monday after charging Alaska State Troopers responding to a report of a dangerous driver.
The troopers received the report from the Kenai Police Department of a dangerous driver traveling northbound on the Spur Highway. The vehicle's owner has federal arrest warrants for firearms offenses, troopers reported.
The suspect's vehicle was located outside of a Nikiski residence. Troopers were attempting to contact the occupants when an unknown person let a dog out from a doorway. According to troopers, the dog immediately charged, forcing one of the officers to fire his gun in defense.
In an attempt to avoid the dog, the trooper fell and sustained minor injuries.
After the dog was struck in the head, it initially fled the area and was reported later as having survived the gunshot. People associated with the dog's owner took it to a veterinarian, troopers reported.
Troopers did not identify the driver of the vehicle. Josh Kushner, 32, of Nikiski, is the registered owner of the vehicle and is wanted on a federal warrant. No contact has been made with Kushner, said Beth Ipsen, troopers public information officer, in an email.
It also remains undetermined if the dog was let out of the home to relieve itself or if there was a more sinister intent. Therefore, no one has been charged in connection with the dog attack, Ipsen said.
The incident is still under investigation.
3 juveniles arrested for burglary
The Kenai Police Department reported Wednesday that three juveniles were arrested for attempting to enter a residence on Birch Street.
On May 10 at 4:09 p.m., officers contacted a 13-year-old female, of Sterling, and two 14-year old males, both of Kenai, breaking into the residence.
The juveniles were apprehended and taken to the Youth Detention Center.
During further investigation, officers determined the same three juveniles had broken into two other homes on Birch Street. Stolen property from one of the homes was found in the teenagers' possession, KPD reported.
All three were arrested for first-degree burglary, second-degree theft and fourth- and fifth-degree criminal mischief.