Man arraigned for kidnapping, assault with a rifle

Photo by Jerzy Shedlock Bret Herrick, 53, listens during his arraignment Tuesday at the Kenai Courthouse.

Tuesday at the Kenai Courthouse, a man wanted by troopers for four months prior to his arrest on Saturday pleaded not guilty to multiple charges, which include kidnapping and assault.

Superior Court Judge Carl Bauman levied a combined bail amount of $150,000, noting the seriousness of Bret Herrick’s offenses as reason for the large payment.

A Kenai grand jury indicted the 53-year-old in September on charges of kidnapping, first-degree burglary, four counts of third-degree assault and third-degree theft.

On Aug. 3, the defendant allegedly kidnapped a Homer man at gunpoint, forced the man into his truck and drove to a local bank, where he forced the man to withdraw money from an ATM.

The man escaped by throwing money into Herrick’s face.

Herrick allegedly entered the man’s East Skyline Drive home brandishing an AR-15 semiautomatic assault rifle with a large capacity drum magazine. He had been on the loose since the August incident.

Troopers weighed the public’s safety, cautioning Kenai Peninsula residents that Herrick was armed and dangerous.

During Tuesday’s arraignment, District Attorney Scot Leaders argued a substantial bail amount was necessary to protect the public. Also, Herrick is a flight risk, Leaders said.

The state noted a prior offense involving a weapon, but said the defendant had no felonies.

Public Defender William Taylor asked the court to set bail at a reasonable amount and argued the added requirement of a third-party custodian should reduce the bail’s amount.

There were three alleged victims of Herrick’s offenses, said Bauman, and a grand jury decided it had heard sufficient evidence to charge him. A larger bail was appropriate, he said.

A friend of Herrick’s who declined to give his name inquired how he could find a bail bondsman on the Peninsula, but the court offered little advice.

The court scheduled an omnibus hearing for Jan. 25 at the Kenai Courthouse. Herrick’s trial was scheduled for the week of Feb. 25 in Homer.

Troopers on Friday arrested Herrick after a chance encounter at the Anchor Point Grocery Store. Trooper Daniel Brom stopped to get a snack at the grocery store on the Old Sterling Highway at 10:24 p.m. Brom noticed a bald man sitting in the passenger seat of the truck next to his patrol car. The man attempted to hide his face, troopers reported.

The trooper identified Herrick, who left the truck and entered an adjacent liquor store. He called for backup, and two troopers arrested Herrick following a brief scuffle.

Herrick allegedly raised his fists at the troopers and resisted being handcuffed. When troopers pinned Herrick on the ground with his hands beneath him, Brom attempted to pull Herrick’s hands out; Herrick said, “You’re going to have to work for them.”

Troopers found a knife, bullets and two handgun magazines on Herrick, they reported.

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

Michael Armstrong can be reached at michael.armstrong@homernews.com.

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