Kodiak judge declares mistrial on Kenai murder charge

Posted: Wednesday, November 22, 2000

KODIAK (AP) -- Kodiak Superior Court Judge Donald Hopwood declared a mistrial Monday afternoon in the first-degree murder trial of Rocky Seaman after a jury was unable to reach a verdict.

The jury on Monday morning convicted Seaman of two other counts: conspiracy to commit murder and conspiracy to commit kidnapping.

Seaman, 43, of Kenai, was prosecuted in connection with the October 1996 disappearance of Loreese ''Lori'' Hennagin of Kenai. Her body has not been found.

Investigators say Hennagin was killed out of revenge for a burglary at the home of Seaman in which cocaine, jewelry and money was stolen.

Prosecutors said Seaman, after being unable to recover stolen property from his brother Rusty and Hennagin, offered to forgive a debt of drug dealer Jeffrey Lackey if Lackey would lure Hennagin to a place where he could ''get at her.''

Prosecutors contend that Lackey lured Hennagin to a deserted beach in Kenai and called Rocky Seaman on a cell phone, and that Seaman killed her after Lackey left.

During the trial, defense attorneys attacked the credibility of key state witnesses, including Lackey, 39, who testified as part of a plea bargain. He has been sentenced to 25 years in prison, with more than half suspended, after pleading guilty to second degree murder in the case.

Defense attorneys also suggested the police investigation was flawed and presented theories suggesting others had more reason and opportunity to kill Hennagin than Seaman.

Sentencing on Seaman's conspiracy verdicts has been scheduled for March 2 in Kenai.

Prosecutor Dwayne McConnell said he will announce at a hearing Dec. 13 whether the state will seek another trial on the murder charge.

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