Adam Israel bowed his head toward the defense table and sobbed as his youngest brother testified about the day he watched Adam walk from their Soldotna home to a patrol car, with his blood-stained hands handcuffed behind his back.
Israel’s now 10-year-old brother, Corbin Schoeffel, testified in a Kenai courtroom on Wed-nesday that he was sitting in a truck parked in his home’s driveway and waiting for his mother, 43-year-old Dorothy Israel, when Dorothy and Adam got into an argument near an entrance to the house on Jan. 29, 2005, the day Adam Israel called 911 and told dispatchers he had stabbed his mother.
Schoeffel said that before the stabbing occurred, Adam Israel, who was 22 at the time, was arguing with his mother over money he wanted to buy weed when they moved the argument into the house.
Schoeffel, who was 8-years-old when the stabbing occurred, quietly fidgeted on Wednesday as he listened to questions asked by the prosecution who had to remind him to answer questions verbally rather than just shake and nod his head, so that his answers could be audio recorded.
Schoeffel said he was still waiting in the truck for his mother, who was going to take him to the Caribou Hills that day for a weekend of snowmachining, when police cars and an ambulance pulled up to the house.
Although he saw police walk his older brother from the house that day, Schoeffel did not learn what had happened to his mother until later when an officer watching over him at the Soldotna Police Department told him she had died.
When prosecutor June Stein asked Schoeffel if he remembered how he felt when he learned his mother had died, the blonde-haired boy rubbed his eyes as they welled with tears.
“Very sad,” he quietly answered as he began to weep.
Stein asked for a recess to allow Schoeffel to regain his composure, and as Schoeffel left the stand he walked past Israel, who was sitting at the defense table and also weeping as his hunched shoulders shook.
When Schoeffel returned to answer questions asked by public defender Marvin Hamilton, he again said Israel had wanted money for weed when he and his mother were arguing on Jan. 29 and that he did not remember his brother having said otherwise.
When a Soldotna police officer testified after Schoeffel, however, Hamilton asked questions suggesting Schoeffel may have forgotten a few details since the day the stabbing, nearly two years ago.
Officer Marvin Towell, who interviewed Schoeffel shortly after the stabbing, said he remembered Schoeffel telling him during the interview that Israel had wanted money for weed.
“But that’s not all he said, that’s not a complete statement,” Hamilton said while looking over a report Towell had written of what Schoeffel had said during the interview.
Hamilton asked Towell if Schoeffel also had said that Israel told his mother he wanted money to go back and forth from Anchorage and “to just buy stuff, not weed.”
Towell agreed that he had.
Patrice Kohl can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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