ANCHORAGE (AP) An Anchorage couple took the witness stand Wednesday and denied government charges that they plotted to murder a federal judge and three other people.
Arnold Wesley Flowers, 28, and his girlfriend, Sompong Khamsomphou, 24, are on trial in U.S. District Court, charged with plotting to kill a witness in a pending bank fraud case against them, as well as her boyfriend. They also are accused of conspiring to murder U.S. District Judge Russel Holland and federal prosecutor Crandon Randell.
Flowers insisted on the witness stand Wednesday that he did not scheme to murder anyone when he paid $500 to an undercover federal agent last year.
He told the jury that the government witness, Lisa Chanthaseng, was lying about his pending bank fraud case. Flowers just asked the man to scare her into telling the truth, Flowers said.
A cellmate at Cook Inlet Pre-Trial Facility convinced him to hire a friend named Ron, Flowers testified. In reality, Ron was an agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and part of a plan crafted by federal agents to catch Flowers plotting the murders with his cellmate's help.
At first, Flowers said, he was nervous, but the cellmate ''said Ron was a real intimidating dude,'' Flowers said. He said, ''He's done it before, so it really would be no problem.'' Flowers said yes.
Flowers said that he never discussed murder with the cellmate and that they did not talk about killing Judge Holland or prosecutor Randell.
Jerry Massie, a prosecutor with the U.S. Department of Justice, questioned why Flowers had written down the names of Holland and Randell with their address at the federal courthouse while he was in jail.
Flowers said he wrote the address down for his cellmate, who wanted his state forgery case moved to federal court and needed contact information.
Flowers' girlfriend, Khamsomphou, testified that she knew nothing about the plot to threaten Chanthaseng.
Flowers asked her to drop off $500 for Ron along with a picture of Chanthaseng and her boyfriend, Khamsomphou said, adding that she didn't know what that was about. She said she did not attempt to kill anybody.
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