Kidnapping charge dropped in Seaman trial

Murder charges remains against Kenai man

Posted: Thursday, November 09, 2000

KODIAK -- A Nikiski man has been acquitted on a charge of kidnapping a Kenai woman.

However, Rocky Seaman still faces conspiracy to kidnap, conspiracy to murder and murder charges in connection with the October 1996 disappearance of Loreese "Loree" Hennagin of Kenai.

Hennagin's body has not been found.

Defense attorney Jim McComas entered a motion for acquittal on all counts on Tuesday.

"These allegations never should have been brought in the first place," McComas said.

Superior Court Judge Donald Hopwood's decision to acquit on the kidnapping charge appeared to be based on a conclusion that insufficient evidence had been presented to support a conviction on the kidnapping charge.

The state rested its case Tuesday, while the defense began calling its witnesses Wednesday morning.

Earlier this week, prosecutor Dwayne McConnell called a string of witnesses, including:

n Heather Holland, Seaman's girlfriend for six months in 1996. She said that, as the defendant was beating her and threatening to kill her, she asked if he was going to bury her next to Hennagin. Holland said Seaman said yes, but her later testimony cast some doubt about how serious Seaman was at the time.

Noting that no criminal charges have been brought against Seaman for the assault on Holland, the judge told the jury to use the testimony as context only.

McComas questioned Holland's credibility because of her criminal record. He also raised questions about her mental stability. Holland has admitted to two mental health problems. The defense is expected to show she suffers from other mental health difficulties, as well.

n Marcia Anderson testified Seaman borrowed her car one night between Oct. 1 and 9, 1996. Hennagin allegedly disappeared on Oct. 9. The state later impounded and searched the car, finding nothing of evidentiary value.

n Richard Hennagin, ex-husband of the missing woman, testified about the difficulties in their marriage, including his former wife's drug habit, his assaultive behavior toward her and the bitter custody fight they had in the year before her disappearance.

He also testified that he had told the police that his former wife had disappeared many times, including once for several months in 1995. He also testified that she had walked away from a detoxification program, leaving behind everything, including her car and clothes.

When the defense asked him where he was the night Loree Hennagin allegedly disappeared, he said he was "probably at home." He testified that the police never had asked him that question.

n Kimberly Valdez, an Anchorage friend of Loree Hennagin's since 1991, testified about their friendship and her efforts to help Loree with her addiction. Valdez testified she'd seen Loree with Rocky Seaman only once.

n Era Aviation employee Anna Venhuizen testified there was a Jim Lackey on the flight in the first hour of Oct. 9, 1996, from Anchorage to Kenai. The state's star witness, Jeffrey Lackey, has said he was on the flight; he has a brother named Jim.

Venhuizen also said a C. Childers and a J. Childers appeared on the manifest of a late night flight Oct. 9 from Kenai to Anchorage. There was no evidence that one of the passengers listed as "Childers" was Loree Hennagin, but defense attorneys previously have pointed out that Childers is the last name of one of her friends.

n Kenai Police Investigator Jeff Whannell testified about his work on this case. While the prosecution sought to strengthen its case through telephone records he investigated, the defense attacked the records because they don't show who placed some of the calls.

The trial continues today in Kodiak, where it was transferred from Kenai.

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