Press Release

Juneau Assistant District Attorney Richard Svobodny Tapped to Become Alaska's First Cold Case Prosecutor

November 1, 2005

(Anchorage) – Attorney General David Márquez announced today that Juneau Senior Assistant District Attorney Richard Svobodny has been selected to become Alaska's first cold case prosecutor.

"Some cases present unique challenges that inhibit the investigatory process. Dedicating an experienced prosecutor like Rick to follow up on these cases ensures that the state is doing all it can to prosecute all cases, no matter how much time has gone by," said Márquez.

The cold case attorney position was funded in last year's department of law budget through the efforts of Representative Bill Stoltze (R-Chugiak). The position will be part of the Office of Special Prosecutions and Appeals.

"This experienced criminal attorney is a key component of the successful prosecution of the `cold cases,'" said Stoltze. "These types of cases are typically more legally complicated in part because of the amount of time elapsed. This prosecutor will augment the efforts of Alaska State Trooper "cold case" investigators."

The Alaska State Troopers Cold Case Homicide Unit was formed in 2002. According to Colonel Julia Grimes, since its inception investigators have worked meticulously on many cold cases. Several cases are pending review of new evidence by the District Attorney's office, while others have resulted in arrests, and defendants are pending trial. Many other cases have been solved, although no arrests could be made as the perpetrators are deceased.

"We feel our efforts have been very successful thus far and the Department of Public Safety is very pleased with the assignment of Rick Svobodny as the cold case homicide prosecutor," said Grimes. "A designated attorney of his experience and skill will ensure the best possible chances for the successful prosecution of suspects who think they have `gotten away with murder.'"

Svobodny has been a state prosecutor for almost 30 years. He is an experienced attorney who has covered a wide array of felony and misdemeanor crimes and possesses a strong understanding of dealing with difficult cases and working hand and glove with criminal investigators from across the state. He is currently in Kotzebue handling the trial of former Nome police officer Matthew Owens.

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