It wasn't only that the defendant's lawyer said he wasn't ready to go to trial next week in the case of a man charged with kidnapping.
In the trial of Bret Herrick, 52, on kidnapping and other charges, the main witness in the trial, a Homer fisherman, is off fishing in the Bering Sea and might not be back in time. On that basis, Superior Court Judge Charles Huguelet on Friday postponed until March 26 Herrick's trial.
Herrick is charged with kidnapping, first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary, four counts of third-degree assault and third-degree theft.
On Aug. 3, 2012, Herrick is alleged to have kidnapped at gunpoint Kyle Hock from his East Skyline Drive, taken him in his truck to Wells Fargo bank and forced Hock to withdraw money from an ATM. Hock told Alaska State Troopers he escaped when he distracted Herrick by throwing the money at him.
Troopers also said Herrick threatened a man and a woman at the house and entered Hock's home carrying an AR-15 semiautomatic military-style rifle with a large-capacity drum magazine. Herrick had been on the lam until Dec. 7 when troopers caught him at the Anchor Point liquor store.
At court Friday, Andy Pevehouse, Herrick's attorney, attending telephonically, said that given the severe nature of the charges, he was not ready to go to trial.
Herrick, attending telephonically from Wildwood Pretrial Facility, protested, saying he wanted to proceed and did not want to waive his right to a speedy trial. Under Alaska rules of criminal court procedures, a trial has to be held with 120 days of when a defendant is charged.
"We're at a bit of a loggerhead here," Pevehouse said.
Assistant District Attorney Amy Fenske agreed that the trial should be delayed if Pevehouse said he wasn't prepared, because otherwise it would set up a possible appeal on an inadequate defense by counsel issue.
Assistant District Attorney Anna Garay, who was in the courtroom waiting to speak with Huguelet on a matter relating to another trial, interjected, saying there was a witness issue: Hock was off fishing in the Bering Sea.
"In Alaska, being in the Bering Sea is being not available," Garay said.
Huguelet set the trial for the week of March 26. He noted the 120-day limit for a speedy trial in Herrick's case expires April 7.
Michael Armstrong can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.