Dismissal motion denied

Dismissal motion denied Seaman attorney asks that case be thrown out

Posted: Thursday, November 02, 2000

KODIAK -- The presiding judge in the trial of a Nikiski man charged with murdering and kidnapping a Kenai woman denied a motion to dismiss the case Wednesday.

Defense attorney Jim McComas Tuesday had asked Superior Court Judge Donald Hopwood to dismiss the case against his client, Rocky Seaman.

Seaman is charged with the murder and kidnapping of Loreese "Loree" Hennagin of Kenai, who has been missing since October 1996. Prosecutors 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. Hennagin's body has never been found.

The trial was moved to Kodiak from Kenai because of pretrial publicity. McComas was concluding his morning cross-examination of the state's leading witness Jeffrey Lackey just before the lunch recess Tuesday when he asked Hopwood to dismiss the case. McComas said Seaman's right to due process had been violated by bad faith on the part of the prosecution in not sharing pretrial information, difficulties in presenting a fair defense because of Lackey's plea bargain agreement and evidence that has been ruled inadmissible in the case.

Lackey, 40, 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's testimony is part of his plea bargain agreement. Late last week, McComas asked for a mistrial after a prosecution witness inadvertently mentioned unrelated crimes Seaman had committed. Hopwood also dismissed the motion.

Early Tuesday, the jury heard a tape of a conversation between Lackey and fellow inmate Charles "Chuck" Maier, who recorded the conversation for police.

The defense used the tape to show Lackey's indifference to the fate of Hennagin, his lack of personal responsibility and inconsistencies in the story he has told at various times over the past few years.

McComas particularly focused on a section of tape where Maier asked him about $10,000 Lackey said he had received for luring Hennagin to a place where the defendant could "get to her." Lackey said he didn't want to talk about it, that it was "all on Rusty's hands now." Maier asked, "Rusty?" and Lackey corrected himself and said, "Rocky."

Rusty Seaman was Hennagin's boyfriend at the time of her disappearance. McComas asked Lackey if the name mix-up had been his subconscious talking.

Lackey replied, "I don't know what you're talking about."

Regarding the money amount, Lackey admitted that he had made up the figure. He said much of his talk with Maier was "jailhouse bravado." McComas suggested that Lackey was confusing what he remembered with what he had read in transcripts and other documents given to him by police investigators before his plea bargain agreement.

In addition to pointing out inconsistencies in Lackey's testimony, McComas sought to show that the nature of the investigation led Lackey to testify as the state wanted him to. He emphasized that the police had at least once told Lackey they knew he was lying, yet continued to deal with him, even improving his plea bargain deal.

The trial is scheduled to continue today in Kodiak Superior Court.

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