Trial begins for couple accused of hiring hit man

Posted: Tuesday, June 03, 2003

ANCHORAGE (AP) An Anchorage couple facing charges that they hired a hit man to kill a federal judge, a prosecutor, a witness and her boyfriend connected to a pending bank fraud case went on trial Monday.

Federal prosecutors say Arnold Wesley Flowers and Sompong Khamsomphou offered to pay $5,000 to have U.S. District Judge H. Russel Holland, assistant U.S. attorney Crandon Randell and two other people killed. They were indicted on charges of conspiring to kill, attempting to kill a witness, and two counts of attempting to kill an officer of the United States.

A federal undercover agent testified Monday that Flowers told him over the phone to go ahead with the murders and that Khamsomphou gave him a down payment for two of them in an Anchorage hotel.

The couple's defense attorneys contend there was no conspiracy, said John Pharr, who represents Khamsomphou. She did not know what was going on, he said.

An Outside judge, Owen Panner, is hearing the case. He ruled last year that there was a possibility of bias from Alaska judges because a colleague had been targeted.



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