Change of venue sought for suspect in Coast Guard officer shooting

Posted: Tuesday, August 07, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The attorney for a man charged with murdering a Coast Guard officer on St. Paul Island asked Monday that his client be tried in St. Paul instead of Anchorage.

The request for a change of venue was made at the arraignment of Carl W. Merculief Jr., 25, a former St. Paul resident who had been living in Anchorage. Defense attorney Mike Dieni pleaded not guilty for Merculief on eight felony charges, including first-degree murder in the shooting death of Chief Warrant Officer Timothy Harris July 24.

Merculief also is charged with misdemeanor counts of fourth-degree assault and violating a protective order.

According to the criminal complaint, Merculief was angry because he thought Harris was having an affair with his estranged wife.

At Monday's hearing, Superior Court Judge Elaine Andrews did not rule on the change of venue request, KTUU TV in Anchorage reported.

The judge told Merculief that he can not call his wife and 5-year old child any more. However, he can talk to his 2-year old as long as the others are not around, the judge said.

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