Suspect in Sterling squabble to fight charges

Posted: Wednesday, May 09, 2001

On Tuesday, Philip Mark Barnholdt, of Sterling, was arraigned in Kenai Superior Court on seven charges, including one of attempted murder. He pleaded not guilty on all counts through his attorney, Joe Ray Skrha.

Judge Harold M. Brown approved Barnholdt's release to a third-party custodian, David Arthur Jewell of Soldotna, pending receipt of $150,000 cash bail.

The trial date was set for July 2 in Kenai.

Barnholdt is accused of attempting to kill Stanley Jeffers and threatening three others in an early-morning ruckus April 24.

According to Alaska State Troopers reports at the time, Jeffers alleged that Barnholdt came to his home before dawn and called for him to come out. Jeffers opened the door, saw that Barnholdt had a gun and shut the door. One shot was fired at that time and possibly two more a short time later. Jeffers contacted troopers about 4:15 a.m.

When law enforcement arrived, Barnholdt was gone. Troopers began an extensive search, calling in help from other law enforcement agencies and others to find Barnholdt or his vehicle. The suspect was found at his home about six hours later and arrested without incident.

Barnholdt has been charged with one count of first-degree attempted murder, four counts of third-degree assault, one count of first-degree burglary and one count of second-degree misconduct involving weapons.

Skrha told the judge, "We would plead a straight not guilty to all counts."

Skrha introduced Jewell, who answered questions from him, Assistant District Attorney John Wolfe and Judge Brown.

Jewell told the court that he has lived in Soldotna for 30 years and has known the defendant and his family since he and Barnholdt were in elementary school. Responding to questioning about undertaking the responsibility of serving as a custodian in this case, Jewell said, "I've known him for 25 years, and I don't have a problem with it."

The conditions that Brown set for Barnholdt's release on bail were that he post a $50,000 cash appearance bond, a $100,000 cash performance bond, obey all laws, attend all hearings, not leave the state without written court approval, have no access to alcohol or premises where alcohol is served and have no contact with the four people who were at Jeffers' home at the time of the shooting.

Skrha, speaking after the arraignment, said Barnholdt alleges that Jeffers is involved in drugs and concocted the attack story. The encounter was nonviolent and motivated by Barnholdt's concern for the welfare of children on the premises, his lawyer said.

Skrha said he intends to seek reduction of the bail amount.

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