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Judge denies mistrial in double murder trial

Posted: Friday, September 27, 2002

KENAI (AP) -- A Superior Court judge in Kenai refused to call a mistrial in the trial of a man charged in a double murder.

Judge Jonathan Link said no mistrial was necessary Tuesday. His decision came after Dennis Johnson, a witness for the state, twice held up an envelope saying it had been delivered to him on his boat.

The gesture occurred while the witness was being asked about fearing for his own life. The action prompted the defense to ask for a mistrial.

The judge inspected the contents of the envelope and found it had nothing to do with Billy D. Smith's murder trial. Smith is on trial for the 1994 murders of Harold Enzler, 36, of Nikiski, and Nancy Bellamy, 42, of Homer.

Smith later confessed to shooting the couple to death, police said. But Smith's lawyer said he only confessed to get out of jail to get a heroin fix.

Johnson testified that he drove Smith to the site of the 1994 shootings and later helping Smith dump the dismembered bodies into Cook Inlet.

Johnson served one year in jail for his involvement and is currently on five years probation.



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