- At Sea
- Contact Us
BETHEL, ALASKA-27-year-old Charles Chaney of Bethel was convicted on Federal charges of a Felon in Possession of Firearms in Federal Court. The conviction took an Anchorage jury less than two hours. Chaney now faces a possible 10 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine.
The jury for a short time was as deadlocked as two of the jurors struggled with the term “knowingly” in the law. Their argument was since Chaney was intoxicated at the time, could he be “knowingly in possession?” Within a short time however, the full jury reached a decision.
The case stems from an incident that took place in Bethel in December of 2009. It was on the eighth day of that month that Jerry Herrod, a police officer with the city of Bethel responded to a call on 7th Avenue in Bethel. When responding to the call, Herrod left his vehicle unlocked and running outside the residence. Inside the vehicle was an AR-15 with four 30-round clips in a padded case. Upon exiting the residence, he found his vehicle missing.
A search was made throughout the city by Chaney and Lt. Atchee, of the Bethel Police Department, to no avail. About an hour and a half later, police officers in a town downriver, in Napaskiak, reported to Bethel that sirens and gunshots could be heard on the river. They also reported a four-wheeler following the vehicle. It was later determined that Chaney was the driver of the four-wheeler.
Other witnesses saw the police car, on the frozen river, doing donuts with the sirens and lights on and heard gunshots.
A short time later, the Bethel officers, after discovering the identity of the car thieves, went to their residence and outside, they found the four-wheeler that Chaney was driving, the engine still warm with a radar gun strapped to it. They arrested the two individuals at that residence at that time.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, Alaska State Troopers, and the Bethel Police Department conducted the investigation that led to the indictment in this case.
The two Bethel men were indicted by a federal grand jury in Anchorage, on February 2010, each were indicted for being felons in possession of a firearm and for being unregistered persons in possession of a short-barreled rifle that required registration. Chaney was prosecuted as part of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Alaska’s Rural Prosecution Initiative, a part of the Department of Justice’s commitment to improved public safety for rural Alaska and Alaskan tribal communities.
Chaney came by his felony status through two felony DWIs.