ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A man charged with trying to murder his wife and 8-year-old son has pleaded no contest to the charges.
Timothy Wade pleaded to one consolidated count of attempted murder in Superior Court on Wednesday just as his trial was to begin.
The state was prepared to tell jurors that Wade had a girlfriend in Texas with a ticket to Alaska, scheduled to arrive three days after the attacks. But no one seems to know why he felt he had to kill his family rather than just leave them, said Assistant District Attorney Adrienne Bachman.
Wade was a part-time bicycle sales-and-repair man and worked the 1998-99 hockey season as a polar bear mascot for the Anchorage Aces. He had no criminal record.
Wade's attorney, Craig Howard, would not say what defense he planned to offer had the trial gone ahead. Howard said his client doesn't know why he did it. ''He said he just snapped.''
Wade, 33, spoke briefly before Superior Court Judge Larry Card found him guilty, but shed no light on his crime. He choked up as he told Card he wanted to save his family from having to testify.
Laurie Wade and her son Camden, said they were glad they won't have to take the witness stand. But both also said they were willing to tell jurors what happened. Laurie Wade said the plea bargain is only acceptable if Timothy Wade gets a long sentence.
''I want him in jail for as long as possible, at least until my children are grown and can defend themselves,'' she said.
Wade faces anywhere from 5 to 99 years at sentencing Jan. 22.
''I intend to seek an extremely high sentence,'' Bachman said. ''This is as close to a completed murder as you can possibly get.''
On Aug. 10, 1999, Laurie Wade had just come into the family's apartment with her son and his 19-month-old sister when she heard a noise. A big man wearing a hood and a bandana over his face came from behind the door, grabbed her and began stabbing her, she said.
''I screamed at Camden to call 911,'' but Camden couldn't get through and the assailant went after him, stabbing him four times with a hunting knife, in the neck, chest, side and back.
Laurie Wade said she didn't realize who the man was until Camden cried out, ''No, Dad, stop, stop. What are you doing?'' Then the bandana fell and she saw that it was her husband.
Laurie Wade ran and her husband chased her, catching her outside the building and stabbing her more than 20 times in the back, chest, neck and left arm.
Meanwhile, Camden, bleeding, grabbed his baby sister and ran outside, hiding both of them beneath a staircase.
A woman riding her bike heard screams, found the children and ran with them to safety. Meanwhile neighbors, including a massage therapist with some health training, worked on Laurie to slow the flow of blood from her wounds, saving her life, Bachman said. She lost one-third of her blood and had a collapsed lung, she said.
Timothy Wade headed to the airport and tried to buy a ticket for Seattle. He left when the flight was delayed.
In the hours after the attack, Wade made 12 phone calls. Nine of them were to the woman in Texas. Investigators also have pre-attack e-mail from Wade to the woman that discusses plans for them to be together. He wrote her from jail after his arrest and, according to case files, he was talking to her on the phone when police arrested him.
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