BETHEL — As the last of the trials from last June’s Rumble on the River wound to a close here Wednesday, with defense attorneys gone back to the comfort of Anchorage and some defendants missing as well, things got a little weird. The final defendant turned out to be from a village far, far away.
Court began at 9 a.m., with black-haired Tom Carl from Tuluksak, population 373, left to sit alone at the defense table in handcuffs and a blue prison jumpsuit while the attorney defending him dialed in on her cellphone from somewhere to the south.
But at least Carl, prosecutors and acting District Court Judge Bruce Ward were in a courtroom lit dimly enough to leave one with the impression that outside it must still be the long dark of winter in Alaska.
The handcuffs and jumpsuit, it should be noted, were not related to Carl being cited for illegal fishing the Kuskowim River last June for Chinook, the fish more often called king salmon. The cuffs and prison attire were related to other charges against the middle-age Carl, a man so soft-spoken he could hardly be heard when he finally took the stand to answer the fishing charges related to last summer’s protest on the Kusko.
That, however, couldn’t happen until after U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agent Christopher Johnson dialed from the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge to testify in the case. Johnson, who flew north from the Kenai Peninsula last summer to ticket Carl, testified against him over the phone.
Read the full story at the Alaska Dispatch>>