Man who led Glenn Highway chase convicted of weapons possession

Posted: Saturday, June 21, 2003

ANCHORAGE (AP) A Wasilla man who led police and state troopers on a dash down the Glenn Highway two years ago was convicted in federal court Thursday of illegally having weapons at the time.

A jury found Bret Maness guilty on two counts of being a felon in possession of weapons, prosecutors said.

A grand jury charged Maness in March with having a semiautomatic rifle, a semiautomatic pistol and a bolt-action rifle, according to the indictment.

Maness was convicted by a state jury in 1998 of growing dozens of marijuana plants in his Anchorage apartment, a felony. He was acquitted in the same trial on charges of murdering a neighbor.

Prosecutors said Alaska State Troopers went to Maness' Wasilla residence at his wife's request around 1 a.m. June 28, 2001, to commit him to Alaska Psychiatric Institute. Maness fled in his motor home down the Glenn Highway.

Troopers placed a spike strip on the highway, puncturing his tires, and Maness fled into the woods carrying a rifle and a pistol, prosecutors said.

Police and troopers tracked him down and an officer shot Maness in the shoulder as he swung around to face them, still holding the rifle.

Kevin McCoy, Maness' defense attorney, contended in closing arguments that troopers frightened Maness by approaching his house late at night, quietly, with flashlights and weapons.

''You'd tell them to leave,'' he told the jury. ''And if they didn't leave, you'd try to get away.''

McCoy said Maness was scared for his life when he fled into the woods.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom Bradley said Maness left the motor home armed.

''He was wanting to use those guns on police officers,'' Bradley said.

State charges against Maness, including third-degree assault and eluding officers, were dismissed on technical grounds last year.

Maness' sentencing is set for Aug. 28. He faces a maximum of 10 years for the two counts, Bradley said.

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