Trial begins for Juneau man accused of stabbing acquaintance

Posted: Wednesday, April 24, 2002

JUNEAU (AP) -- Trial began Tuesday for a Juneau man accused of bludgeoning and stabbing an acquaintance in January.

George Shavers, 48, is charged with first-degree assault with a dangerous weapon and tampering with evidence in connection with the attack on Barry Richards, who has not been seen since he was released from a Juneau hospital Jan. 28.

Charges stem from the attack, which occurred sometime during the night of Jan. 25 at Harris Harbor. Authorities say Shavers argued with Richards, attacked him, tried to clean up the blood and disposed of the weapon.

Police and prosecutors have been unable to locate Richards, 38, who is believed to be homeless. Hospital staff said Richards was in fair condition when he left, despite suffering a skull fracture and stab wounds. He spoke briefly with police before leaving the hospital.

District Attorney Richard Svobodny said at a hearing Monday that the trial will go forward even if police cannot find Richards, the Juneau Empire reported.

Defense attorney David Seid said his client will claim self defense.

Shavers said in a letter to Superior Court Judge Larry Weeks that he was ''not interested in a plea bargain or to plead 'no contest.' I am just pleading for a fair and just trial, where all the facts are brought out.''

According to court records, Richards and Shavers were drinking on Shavers' boat, where Shavers lived. At some point, Richards, who was standing in the galley of the boat at the time, told Shavers he was leaving. According to records, Richards told police that Shavers said ''he liked little boys,'' and clubbed Richards in the head.

Shavers allegedly stabbed an unconscious Richards 22 times, leaving mostly superficial wounds.

Richards told police that when he came to, he saw Shavers using rags to clean blood from the boat.

Court records say Shavers admitted he stabbed Richards, threw the knife in the harbor and put the bloody rags in a nearby Dumpster. The knife was not recovered.

The trial is expected to end by Friday. Shavers faces a maximum of 25 years in prison.

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