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Cold case murder trial postponed

Posted: Thursday, November 29, 2007

The murder trial of a man charged in a 25-year-old Seward cold case was put off Wednesday until next April. The trial had been set to begin sometime next week.

Jimmy Eacker, 53, is accused of killing Toni Lister, who was 29 when her body was found April 17, 1982, in the woods near the Seward city dump. She had been sexually assaulted and stabbed in the chest, head and neck, according to authorities.

Seward police investigated after Lister's husband, James, reported her missing. Eacker was identified as a suspect, but he was never charged.

Cold case investigators with the Alaska Bureau of Investigation in Soldotna began reviewing the case last year at the request of Seward police, and Eacker was arrested late in August in Fairbanks, where he had been living for the past several years.

A grand jury indicted him on one count of first-degree murder and one count of second-degree murder.

Eacker's attorney asked the Kenai Superior Court to postpone Eacker's trial until April, according to Kenai District Attorney June Stein. Trial call is now set for April 2, 2008, with a jury trial to begin in Seward during the week of April 7.

If convicted, Eacker could be sentenced to 20-99 years in prison on the first-degree murder charge and 10-99 years for second-degree murder.

He is being held in the Wildwood Pretrial Facility on $250,000 bail and the requirement of a court-approved, third-party custodian if released on bail.

Phil Hermanek can be reached at phillip.hermanek@peninsulaclarion.com.



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