Key witness testifies in Kenai murder trial

Posted: Wednesday, November 01, 2000

KODIAK (AP) -- A key state witness told jurors Monday that he lured Lori Hennagin to a remote Kenai beach and left her with Rocky Seaman, who is charged with kidnapping and murder in connection with her disappearance.

Jeffrey Lackey, 39, a drug dealer, testified that he plotted with Seaman to isolate Hennagin in exchange for cocaine and forgiveness of a debt.

Hennagin, 29, disappeared from Kenai in October 1996. Her body was not found.

Investigators say Hennagin was killed in revenge for a burglary she and Seaman's brother, Rusty, carried out at the home of Avis McGahan, the brothers' mother.

The trial was moved to Kodiak because of pretrial publicity.

Lackey pleaded no-contest last year to second-degree murder in the case and was sentenced to 25 years in prison, with just more than half suspended.

Lackey testified Monday as part of his plea bargain that he began selling cocaine for Avis McGahan in 1996.

Questioned by prosecutor Dwayne McConnell, Lackey said he was summoned to McGahan's Anchorage home in the fall 1996, where the recent burglary of a safe in the home was discussed. Money, jewelry and 2.2 kilograms, almost 5 pounds, of cocaine were stolen.

After getting a call from Avis McGahan, Lackey said, he flew to Kenai on Oct. 8, 1996. There, he said, he struck a deal with her and Seaman to lure Hennagin to a place where Seaman would be waiting.

In exchange, Lackey testified, he was to get a kilogram of cocaine and forgiveness of a debt for cocaine he had been given to sell.

Lackey said he spent the day drinking and using cocaine. As he left a bar in mid-afternoon, he said, he spotted Hennagin driving by. He said he followed Hennagin to Kmart, where he pretended to accidentally run into her.

Lackey said Hennagin agreed to meet him that night for a drink and to get high. Lackey said he then called Seaman and took him to a place on the beach where he intended to bring Hennagin. He also exchanged his pager for Seaman's cell phone.

Lackey said he and Hennagin went out for drinks that evening, then returned to Hennagin's apartment, prepared some crack cocaine and went to the beach.

After calling the pager number twice from the beach, Lackey said, he and Hennagin got up to leave, but Seaman appeared.

Lackey said Seaman hit Hennagin. Lackey said he asked Seaman what he was doing and Seaman told him to leave, so he ran away.

Lackey said he then met McGahan, returned the cell phone and received $2,300. Lackey said he met McGahan again the next day and she gave him his pager and three ounces of cocaine. He said he then returned to Anchorage.

On cross-examination, defense attorney Jim McComas continually challenged Lackey's testimony, focusing on areas such as his truthfulness, his criminal record and a list of complaints made against him by women for violent behavior.

Asked how many times he physically assaulted one former girlfriend, Lackey said, ''Too many to count.''

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