Kenai murder trial under way in Kodiak

Posted: Friday, October 20, 2000

KODIAK -- A murder trial originally slated to be held in Kenai will be tried in Kodiak instead, after the judge decided a fair trial would be impossible in the original venue.

The case stems from the disappearance and alleged murder four years ago this month of Loreese "Loree" Hennagin, then 29.

Jury selection began Thursday in the case against Rocky Seaman, 43, who was indicted by a Kenai grand jury in 1998 on seven felony counts. His mother, Joan "Avis" McGahan, 64, also was indicted at the time.

The two were charged with one count of first-degree murder, two counts of second-degree murder, and one count each of kidnapping, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit second-degree murder and conspiracy to commit kidnapping.

The case is being tried in Kodiak before Superior Court Judge Donald Hopwood. Kenai District Attorney Dwayne McConnell will prosecute.

"The judge determined there was too much one-sided trial publicity (in Kenai)," Seaman's attorney, Jim McComas, said. "(He) considered between Anchorage and Kodiak and decided Kodiak was a much more similar community, so he moved the trial here."

Russ Josephson is a reporter for the Kodiak Daily Mirror.

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