Anchorage man tried again for 1993 homicide

Posted: Friday, April 12, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- An Anchorage man whose murder conviction was overturned on appeal is being tried again for the same homicide.

Carl Brown is accused of killing Judi Burgin, whose body was found in the Talkeetna woods off the Parks Highway in August, 1993, four months after she disappeared.

Brown said he is innocent. The case against him hangs on circumstance and a strand of red rug fiber found with Burgin's sheet-wrapped body. The prosecution says the strand matches carpeting in Brown's bedroom back in 1993.

It took investigators five years to build a case against Brown. In 1998, a jury convicted him of first-degree murder and tampering with evidence. But the judge at that trial wouldn't let the defense offer its main argument -- that several other people in Burgin's life had reason and opportunity to kill her. The verdict was overturned on appeal.

Brown and Burgin met in August 1992. She was a commercial fisherman with a history of drug addiction. He was a drug dealer.

''Judi Burgin believed she had found the real thing,'' assistant district attorney Sharon Illsley told jurors Monday in her opening statement in Anchorage. But that love turned to fear, Illsley said.

Some witnesses saw bruises and say Burgin complained of Brown hitting her. Others said she told them Brown was good to her, that they might marry. By the time of her death she was living mostly at Brown's south Anchorage home.

Defense attorney Sharon Barr said Burgin and Brown weren't exclusive in their relationship. ''Carl had what Judi wanted,'' Barr told jurors. ''A steady supply of drugs.''

Burgin disappeared on April 24 or 25, 1993. By then, both sides agreed, her 4-foot-11-inch frame was sickly thin and her heroin addiction seemed to be spiraling out of control.

Shortly before she died, Burgin got a check for about $4,600 -- proceeds from a family real estate sale. Barr said any number of people knew about the money and might have decided to take it.

The prosecution said Brown never reported Burgin missing, never inquired among her friends about her, and told conflicting stories about her disappearance. He seemed to know before being told that she was dead and how she had been killed, Illsley said.

Barr said Burgin's homicide remains unsolved.

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