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It was announced by trooper dispatch, in a release, that 75-year-old Cordova fisherman, Roger Lee Koechling was convicted after a three-day bench trial on charges of Reckless Endangerment x4 Disorderly Conduct x4, and Two counts of Reckless Operation of a Marine Vessel.
The case stems from an event that occurred on the Eyak River in 2013 where Koechling used his vessel, a 30-foot commercial bowpicker to intimidate four people, that included an eight-year-old, who were fishing nearby in a 15-foot skiff. According to troopers, Koechling drove his vessel directly at the four boaters, only to turn away at the very last minute.
No motives for the action were readily available.
During closing arguments, the Cordova judge pointed out that this case was not about sport fishing vs. commercial fishing, “but that of community condemnation,deterrence, and that this behavior presented a significant and exceptional risk to the occupants of the other vessel.”
Koechling received 700 day in jail, but 649 days were suspended. The remaining 51 days is ordered served beginning August 15, 2014.