Jury selection begins in Hester murder trial

Posted: Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Jury selection for the trial of a Kasilof woman charged in the shooting death of her boyfriend in 2003 began Monday. The trial is beginning this week after being delayed twice last year and is expected to take about two weeks.

Betsy M. Hester, 53, is charged with one count of second-degree murder for allegedly killing John E. Clark, 49, of Kasilof, on Oct. 4, 2003.

During a 2003 bail hearing, former Kenai District Attorney Dwayne McConnell said that on Oct. 3, Clark and Hester had been drinking and arguing at the Decanter Inn in Kasilof. They went to the home they shared for seven years in the vicinity of Pollard Loop Road, where the argument continued.

Clark reportedly slapped Hester numerous times in the face and struck her with his fist, then went to the kitchen, and as he returned, continuing to threaten bodily harm, she allegedly shot him twice with a 9mm pistol.

According to court documents, one bullet struck Clark in the arm and exited through his back and the other entered his middle left back, struck the bottom half of his heart, went through his lung and exited the left side of his abdomen before striking his left thigh.

Three other shots were fired and missed, documents said.

Hester then called Alaska State Troopers at 1:47 a.m. Oct. 4, saying she had shot her boyfriend. Investigators said Clark’s blood-alcohol level was .231 — nearly four times the level considered to be legally intoxicated in Alaska — and Hester’s was .156.

She was taken into custody Oct. 18 after turning herself in following the indictment.

She was released from custody on $25,000 bail Oct. 24 and required to have a third-party custodian.

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