KENAI (AP) -- The lawyer for a man charged with murdering a couple in 1994 told jurors that his client's confession to police was false.
Billy D. Smith, 41, is charged with the murders of Harold Enzler, 36, of Nikiski, and Nancy Bellamy, 42, of Homer. Their bodies have never been found. Smith also is charged with three counts of tampering with physical evidence.
During his opening statement Thursday, Assistant District Attorney John Wolfe said that on the evening of March 27, 1994, Enzler and Bellamy were lured away from the Nikiski home of Enzler's parents.
Wolfe said the couple had spent that Palm Sunday with members of Enzler's family, attending church in the morning, having a family dinner and enjoying company with Enzler's 3-year-old son, Francis.
Enzler had been in good spirits because he had recently received good news concerning a custody dispute over the child, Wolfe told the jury.
Enzler was divorced from the boy's mother, Mimi.
After dropping off Francis at his mother's house, Enzler returned to his parent's home. At about 9 p.m., he and Bellamy left in a 1974 green Dodge pickup to meet the friend who had called earlier.
Enzler and Bellamy ''were never seen again,'' Wolfe said.
According to Wolfe, during the custody hearings, information came up regarding who was the better parent. Mimi was not because she was dating Billy Smith, a drug user and dealer, Wolfe said.
Smith had told associates that Bellamy was a snitch and Enzler was trying to have Smith arrested.
More than three year later, while Smith was in an Anchorage jail on other charges, Wolfe said he confessed. Wolfe said investigators, including then Sgt. Chuck Kopp who is now Kenai's police chief, employed an interview technique in which the seriousness of the offense is minimized and officers appear understanding to get a confession.
''You will hear Mr. Smith's confession,'' Wolfe told the jurors.
Defense attorney Robert Herz told the jury to closely examine the reliability of the information.
''This is a false confession,'' he said.
Wolfe said Smith told investigators that he shot the couple, hid the bodies and later dismembered them and dumped the parts in Cook Inlet.
But Herz told the jury that other people may have had motives for killing the couple, including a man who was initially charged with the homicides. Those charges were later dropped.
''The state made a deal with the wrong person. The real shooter got a sweet deal,'' Herz said.
He also said the state had no DNA, bullets or blood evidence.
''There are a lot of gaps in the evidence here,'' Herz said.
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