Minto teen gets 20 years for murder of Nenana man

Posted: Friday, July 13, 2001

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- Prosecutors say he didn't pull the trigger, but Darin Nathaniel's involvement in the January killing of Nenana resident John ''Mackie'' Burk was enough to earn a 20-year prison sentence for second-degree murder.

Nathaniel, 19, of Minto was sentenced Thursday by Superior Court Judge Charles Pengilly.

Nathaniel and Mark Andrews, 25, of Nenana were arrested after Burk was shot through his cabin door Jan. 14.

In April, Nathaniel agreed to plea no contest to second-degree murder. Part of the plea agreement calls for him to testify in October against Andrews, who has been indicted on a first-degree murder charge.

Prosecutor Jay Hodges and defense attorney David Allen agreed that Nathaniel had apparently been talked into participating in the crime by Andrews. Hodges said the two went to Burk's house to rob him of cocaine.

According to Allen, Nathaniel carried an unloaded shotgun and had been brought along by Andrews strictly for intimidation. Allen also contended that the decision to shoot Burk had been Andrews' alone.

Nathaniel's father, foster mother, brother and uncle testified that Nathaniel was generally well-behaved, helpful and nonviolent despite an upbringing that was at times difficult.

Hodges asked Pengilly for a sentence of 20 to 30 years.

Allen sought a 10-year sentence and argued that Nathaniel is an easily swayed person who fell under the influence of Andrews, an experienced criminal.

''Darin is suggestible,'' he said. ''When he is influenced for good, he can be good. When he is influenced to ill, as by Mr. Andrews, well, he can do ill.''

Nathaniel briefly addressed the court. ''I'd like to say that I'm sorry for what happened,'' he said. ''I didn't have no intention to hurt or kill nobody during this crime.''

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