Press Release

State Files Notice of Appeal Involving Waterman Prosecution

SOA v. Rachelle Waterman, ** 3KE-04-1312 CR

April 21, 2006

(ANCHORAGE) Susan Parkes, Deputy Attorney General for the Criminal Division of the Alaska Department of Law, announced today that the State filed a notice of appeal this week in State of Alaska v. Rachelle Waterman. Rachelle was charged with first degree murder involving the death of her mother, Lauri Waterman, in 2004. The original prosecution resulted in a mistrial after a jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict.

The state is appealing a ruling made on March 7, 2006 by Superior Court Judge Patricia Collins to suppress a statement made by Waterman to the Alaska State Troopers on November 19, 2004. As a result of this decision to suppress, Judge Collins dismissed the state's case against Waterman without prejudice.

"Before trial the court ruled that Waterman's statement was admissible," said Parkes. "At a post-trial hearing to schedule a new trial date, the court, on its own motion, decided to suppress this same statement and dismiss this case. Because the state was not given a meaningful opportunity to address this order, we believe both the manner and substance of Judge Collin's decision were erroneous. Given the serious nature of the charges, we have elected to appeal this decision."

On appeal the state will argue that the court erred in:

  • Reconsidering its previous order not to suppress Ms. Waterman's statement without first giving the parties an opportunity to respond to that order orally or in writing, or without the opportunity to present additional evidence
  • Dismissing the indictment and all charges against Ms. Waterman, based on the order on reconsideration
  • Suppressing all of Waterman's November 19, 2004 statement

The state is entitled to have this matter reviewed by the Alaska Court of Appeals. The trial proceedings and all hearings must be transcribed for appellate review. A decision on the appeal will likely take from one-and-one-half to two years.

** With regard to any charges which may be noted in this press release, please note that the charge is merely an accusation. Defendant Rachelle Waterman is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty. Rule 3.6(b)(6), Alaska Rules of Professional Conduct.

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