KYUK AM

Crime

Stories involving criminal activities.

Russian Mission saw one of its worst spate of runway vandalism in April.
Jim Duffy

The Alaska Department of Transportation has a problem: it’s hard to keep people from breaking runway lights in rural airports, especially in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. The state is trying to mitigate this through a series of public service announcements, posters on bulletin boards, and outreach to villages, as the lack of working runway lights can keep flights from landing.  


A Village Police Officer has been arrested in Mountain Village for tampering with evidence in a high-stakes murder case. John Hunter, age 22, is accused of stealing a cellphone from the victim’s body at the crime scene. The alleged theft could complicate a particularly brutal homicide case, which involves two teenagers and a robbery gone wrong.


A teenager in the village of Kotlik allegedly armed himself with a butcher knife last Friday and tried to force his way into the village school. He is accused of stabbing his sister and another community member when they tried to wrestle the knife away from him, and his original target may have been the school’s principal.


It’s been five months since KYUK reported on the limitations in Bethel’s 911 system, and some of those issues still have not been addressed. If you call 911 from a cellphone, dispatchers still won’t be able to track where you are.

Bethel court supervisor Crystal Garrison poses next to her painting of Judge Nora Guinn. Garrison recently received the Judge Nora Guinn award for her work as a Yup'ik interpreter.
Teresa Cotsirilos/KYUK

The criminal justice system can be intimidating for English-as-a-second-language speakers. The stakes are high, the hearings take hours, and it can be hard to understand what’s going on. Luckily, the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta has Crystal Garrison in its corner. She became the Alaska Court System’s first certified Yup'ik interpreter in 2016, and just received a prestigious award for her work.


People in the Western Alaska community of Mountain Village are struggling to recover after a brutal homicide involving teenagers last week.

The state of Alaska courthouse in Bethel, Alaska.
Dean Swope/KYUK

A Bethel jury decided in favor of Phillip Morris yesterday in a major lawsuit against the tobacco company. It's unclear whether the case of Dolores Hunter vs. Phillip Morris USA is finally over, or headed to yet another round.

Dean Swope/KYUK

A major trial involving the tobacco industry went into closing arguments in Bethel on Tuesday.

The Russian Mission airstrip should be fully functional again as soon as Tuesday afternoon. Over the weekend, a group of young children smashed more than 50 runway lights in a single evening, destroying the lighting system. That meant no planes could land after dark, including medevacs.

Nora Guinn Justice Center in Bethel, Alaska.
Dean Swope/KYUK

On Wednesday, Dolores Hunter vs. Phillip Morris USA went to trial for the third time in seven years. The trial could have wide-reaching implications for the tobacco company. In their opening statements, the attorneys chose to focus on the legacy of a single Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta man whose early death has resulted in 14 years of litigation.


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