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Man arraigned for assaulting hitchhikers

Posted: August 22, 2012 - 8:39am  |  Updated: August 22, 2012 - 12:04pm

A 26-year-old man who allegedly held two hitchhikers against their will in an attempt to get cash was arraigned Tuesday at the Kenai Courthouse. 

Travis L. McHone pleaded not guilty to two counts of kidnapping, two counts of second-degree robbery, two counts of third-degree assault, tampering with physical evidence, third-degree theft and fourth-degree assault. 

According to an affidavit filed by Alaska State Trooper Investigator Austin MacDonald, on June 29 at 9:30 p.m., David Alarcon and Louis Cortez walked down the side of a road after shopping at the Kenai Walmart. McHone allegedly picked up the men in a blue truck. The men said they were headed to Snug Harbor Seafoods on Kalifornsky Beach Road, and McHone began driving. 

The defendant allegedly asked for some gas money; he received a “couple dollars” but wanted more, according to the affidavit. 

The men refused to give up more money, and McHone allegedly yelled racial slurs at them. McHone also swerved into oncoming traffic to scare the hitchhikers before reaching for a club under the front passenger seat, according to the affidavit. 

McHone told troopers he was “angry and wanted to hit them,” troopers reported. 

Following a struggle in which Alarcon and McHone struck each other with the club, Cortez, the second hitchhiker, put McHone in a headlock forcing him to stop driving. The men exited the truck leaving behind some belongings, troopers reported. 

An hour later, troopers received a call from someone in Clam Gulch who reported McHone was assaulting another man. McHone allegedly picked up — along with his friend Adam Garrant, who drove the truck because McCone was intoxicated — a third unidentified male hitchhiker, according to the affidavit.

During the drive, McHone and the hitchhiker began to argue; he struck the man with the same club used earlier that night, according to the affidavit. 

McHone remains in custody at Wildwood Correctional Complex. According to an indictment dated Aug. 17, he is not bailable. 

A public defender asked the court to set bail. Superior Court Judge Carl Bauman noted two previous bail hearings were scheduled, but the hearings did not go forward for unknown reasons.

Bauman opted to keep the non-bailable status in place until another hearing took place due to McHone’s unclassified felony charges. Kidnapping is an unclassified felony, the most serious type of felony under Alaska statutes that provides for the lengthiest sentence. 

The court set a trial for Dec. 3 at the Kenai Courthouse. 

McHone’s criminal history includes at least three convictions of minor consuming alcohol in 2003 and 2004, a conviction of a forth-degree assault charge in Sept. 2011 and an April 3 DUI charge still being prosecuted, among other charges, according to court records. 

Garrant has not been charged in connection with the second June 29 incident, according to court records. 

Jerzy Shedlock can be reached at jerzy.shedlock@peninsulaclarion.com. 

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