Kenai man's attempted murder trial postponed

Posted: Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The jury trial of a Kasilof man charged with attempted murder, which was supposed to start Monday in Kenai Superior Court, was postponed until October.

Citing evidence discovery issues, Kenai Public Defender Joe Montague requested a continuance in the trial of Harold Pence, 45, who is charged with one count of attempted first-degree murder, one count of second-degree assault, four counts of third-degree assault, one count of fourth-degree assault and two counts of fourth-degree misconduct involving weapons. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

According to court documents, on May 25, Pence had been drinking and his wife said he started accusing her of having an affair with a teenage boy. Pence allegedly grabbed a rifle and pointed it at her.

Not wanting to be shot, she reportedly grabbed the rifle barrel and the gun went off, knocking her out of the door of the camper in which the couple lived. She told Alaska State Troopers she thought she had been shot. She could not hear and the arm with which she grabbed the rifle had gone numb.

She was lying on the ground when Pence walked toward her saying something, but she couldn't hear what he was saying because her ears were still ringing from the gunshot.

She was not shot, according to the Kenai District Attorney's office, but she thought Pence was going to kill her.

Because state district attorneys are required to attend a conference the first week of October, the public defenders have a mandatory state conference the week of Oct. 20, and the judges must attend a state judges' conference the last week of the month, Judge Carl Bauman scheduled the Pence trial to begin with jury selection on Thursday, Oct. 9. It would continue Oct. 10, and resume the first four days of the following week.

Kenai assistant district attorney Scot Leaders said he expects the state's case to take no more than four days to present. Montague estimated the trial to last four to five days.

Pence is being held at Wildwood Pretrial Facility on $300,000 bail.

Phil Hermanek can be reached at

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