Troopers arrest paralegal sought in handgun theft

Posted: Friday, August 04, 2000

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- An ex-convict paralegal sought by Alaska State Troopers for taking off from a Kenai Peninsula campground with a gun was arrested Thursday morning.

Ben Latham was charged with second degree theft, tampering with evidence and third degree misconduct involving a weapon, all felonies.

Latham was arrested at 9 a.m. in the Eagle River office of Eugene Cyrus, his attorney. Cyrus had contacted the Alaska Fugitive Task Force and said his client would turn himself in, Alaska State Troopers said.

Troopers believe Latham, 36, is the man who took off with a gun that was brandished during the June 18 brawl at Moose Pass Campground.

In that incident, a group of campers jumped another man after he told them to turn down their late night music, and pulled out a gun. Donald ''Dean'' Earley was arrested and charged with assault in the incident.

The person alleged to be Latham was a witness to the fight. He told others at the scene that he was going to call troopers and left with the handgun, troopers said. Witnesses later picked Latham from a photo lineup after an anonymous informant gave troopers his name.

The warrant says Latham has four felony convictions, although they do not show up on public Alaska computer records going back to the mid-1980s. He was on felony probation until 1999, troopers said.

After his arrest Thursday, Latham taken to Cook Inlet Pretrial Facility and was being held on $10,000 cash-only bail.

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