PALMER — A Palmer Superior Court jury handed down a verdict of guilty on all counts Monday for the Wasilla man charged in the kidnapping and sexual assault of a former coworker.
Jordan King, 25, was awaiting trial on earlier charges he assaulted Shawna Robb in December 2015 when he escaped house arrest and abducted Robb in March 2016.
The two worked together at a Wasilla restaurant.
Robb, 41, testified during the trial that she suffered a 12-hour ordeal during which she was sexually assaulted twice after being led through the woods on a dog leash with her hands bound. She suffered a deep gash in her leg as well as cuts, bruises and bite marks before she talked King into giving himself up.
Robb's family blames state authorities for the second attack.
She was never told that King had fled the supervision of his parents, who were serving as his court-appointed third-party custodians. He abducted her at knifepoint around 4:30 in the morning after leaving his parents' home before 8 the night before.
The jury began deliberating Thursday afternoon and arrived at a verdict Friday, but because state courthouses close at noon Friday, the verdict wasn't read until Monday morning.
Jurors found King guilty on more than a dozen criminal counts ranging from attempted murder to vehicle theft.
He'd already entered guilty pleas to a charge of kidnapping and sexual assault. The jury also entered guilty verdicts on those charges.
King's court-appointed defender, Krista Maciolek, said last week in closing arguments that her client didn't want to kill Robb — he asked if she'd visit him in jail — and the evidence didn't support the charge of attempted murder. Prosecutor Brittany Dunlop argued notes King left about murder and causing pain, combined with his treatment of Robb, justified a guilty verdict.
King faces potential sentences of five to 99 years on the attempted murder and kidnapping counts, and 15 to 35 years on sexual assault and attempted sexual assault counts, according to Dunlop.
Sentencing was scheduled for Feb. 16. The judge will decide whether King's sentences will run at the same time or one after the other.
Robb did not attend any of the trial except for the day she took the stand. Her family members, including her mother and twin sister, Heather, attended daily.
Heather Robb said in a message after the verdict that the family is relieved.
"Shawna will never recover what she has lost," Heather Robb wrote, but the family hopes her story will shed light on the victim notification process already in place if someone escapes a third-party custodian.
"Ensuring that this does not happen to another person may provide necessary healing and comfort in knowing this traumatic event did not occur in vain," Robb wrote.
Alaska Dispatch News generally does not publish the names of victims in sexual assault cases. In this case, Robb and family members agreed to be named.
Portugal. The Man, the indie-rock band with roots in Wasilla, performed its megahit “Feel It Still” on national television at the American Music Awards on Sunday in Los Angeles.
It was the band's first-ever performance at the annual awards show.
Portugal. The Man, now based in Portland, Oregon, opened Sunday night with a backdrop that read: "No computers up here, just live instruments." When the performance ended, another message appeared: "Meet us at Wilshire Blvd after the show, drinks on us."
A post shared by Lords Of Portland (@portugaltheman) on Nov 19, 2017 at 9:41pm PST
Billboard called Portugal. The Man's performance one of the 10 best moments of the show.
Time magazine described "Feel It Still" in a recent article as a "platinum-certified alt-rock mega-hit." Lead singer John Gourley, a Wasilla High dropout, "cobbled together 'Feel It Still' on a whim" in 45 minutes, the magazine reported.
Miss the award show? You can watch the Portugal. The Man's full performance here.
The Department of Justice is suing to block AT&T;'s $85 billion bid for entertainment conglomerate Time Warner, setting the stage for one of the biggest antitrust cases to hit Washington in decades.
The suit is fraught with legal and political risks for both sides. Several Democrats have expressed concern that antitrust officials could be seeking to block the deal because the Trump administration has been highly critical of CNN, which is owned by Time Warner – a charge that the White House and Justice Department have denied.
The suit, which AT&T; said was filed by the Justice Department's antitrust division, seeks to prevent a deal that would combine AT&T; – already one of the country's largest providers of Internet and subscription television – with Time Warner's enormous library of films, HBO, live TV programming and other content.
"It may be one of the most important antitrust battles of modern times," said Gene Kimmelman, a former federal antitrust official and the president of Public Knowledge, a consumer advocacy group.
The move by the agency is also unusual because the proposed tie-up would combine two different kinds of companies — a telecom with a media and entertainment firm. Antitrust officials are relatively untested in the courts on opposing mergers of this kind. But skeptics of the deal have argued that if it is approved, AT&T; could use its immense power to raise prices on consumers and corporate rivals.
DOJ's legal argument mirrors that of consumer groups who say AT&T; could withhold Time Warner's content from other TV and Internet providers. Some consumers could then be compelled to switch to AT&T;'s services from those of Comcast or Verizon to get access to Time Warner shows and movies, critics of the deal said.
AT&T;'s chief executive, Randall Stephenson, has said such moves would not make sense for its business, since the company would want to ensure that its content is consumed by as many people as possible.
Other critics say a combined AT&T-Time; Warner company could force rival cable channels to raise their prices, providing an incentive to funnel viewers to HBO or other channels that AT&T; owns. Starz, the premium cable channel, made this argument to antitrust officials this summer.
DOJ's lawsuit reflects a potential turning point in antitrust enforcement. The government has rarely brought legal complaints against mergers or acquisitions involving companies that do not directly compete, such as AT&T; and Time Warner. The Justice Department allowed Comcast to purchase NBC Universal, a similar deal, in 2011 after the two companies agreed to conditions that regulated their behavior.
But Makan Delrahim, who was nominated by President Trump to serve as DOJ's antitrust chief and confirmed by the Senate in September, largely rejects the use of so-called "behavioral" remedies to address potentially anticompetitive tie-ups.
"That approach is fundamentally regulatory, imposing ongoing government oversight on what should preferably be a free market," Delrahim said in a recent speech to the American Bar Association. The antitrust division, he continued, is likely to return to applying "structural" changes to problematic mergers that force two combining companies to sell off assets.
Earlier this month, antitrust officials explained to AT&T; that the acquisition would fail to pass regulatory muster unless the company agreed to spin off some properties, such as either Turner Broadcasting or its DirecTV service, which AT&T; bought in 2015.
But AT&T; responded that it has no intention of making any major divestments, putting it squarely at odds with regulators.
Underlying that clash were questions about possible interference by Trump into what is supposed to be the Justice Department's impartial review of the AT&T; transaction.
DOJ's suggestion that Turner be sold has been interpreted by some analysts as a veiled, indirect attempt by the White House to punish CNN for its critical reporting on the Trump administration.
On the campaign trail, Trump suggested the deal would be bad for democracy because it would concentrate control of the media in the hands of a dwindling number of firms. But he has also frequently criticized CNN for biased reporting.
AT&T; has said it is willing to use the court process to unearth any evidence that might show communications between White House officials and DOJ on the AT&T; deal. If such evidence is revealed, analysts say, AT&T; could argue that Trump abused his position as president in order to carry out a politically motivated, personal attack against a private actor.
In addition to the political risks of going to court, DOJ lacks a persuasive economic case against the AT&T-Time; Warner deal, according to other analysts.
"DOJ isn't that great when it actually has to go to trial to block mergers, and the jurisprudence on blocking vertical deals is bad for any case the government would bring," said Robert McDowell, a former commissioner on the Federal Communications Commission, referring to the lack of precedent for a successful lawsuit against deals involving firms in different industries.
If AT&T; ultimately wins the case, it would be allowed to close its deal with Time Warner without needing to divest any assets or make other concessions to government regulators – dealing Delrahim a major blow early in his tenure, according to Rich Greenfield, an industry analyst at BTIG. But, he added, losing the case could give Trump a stronger argument against media consolidation.
"We could envision President Donald Trump saying 'Fake Courts' and taking the populist approach that he tried and failed to stop big media from getting bigger," said Greenfield in a research note last week.
BERLIN — Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany faced the greatest crisis of her political career Monday, after late-night negotiations to form a new government collapsed, raising the prospect of a snap election.
The chancellor said she remained hopeful about forming a majority government. But if forced to choose, she said she would prefer to go through new elections rather than try to lead a minority government.
"I don't want to say never, but I am very skeptical, and believe that new elections would be the better way forward," the chancellor told the public broadcaster ARD.
The uncertainty raised new doubts about the political longevity of Merkel, considered perhaps the West's most ardent defender of democratic values and freedoms.
At a time when the European Union is facing a host of pressing problems, from Brexit negotiations with Britain, to the rise of right-wing populism, to separatism in Spain's Catalonia region, the possibility of political instability in a normally reliable Germany sent tremors through the Continent.
The collapse of talks reflected the deep reluctance of Merkel's party and each of the prospective coalition partners to compromise over key positions, especially on immigration, climate and tax policies.
"There is no coalition of the willing to form a government," said Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff, director of the Berlin office of the German Marshall Fund. "This is uncharted territory since 1949. We're facing a protracted period of political immobility. Not only is this not going to go away soon, there is no clear path out."
Calling new elections is not a straightforward procedure in Germany. Written with the unstable governments of the 1920s and 1930s and collapse of the Weimar Republic in mind, the German Constitution includes several procedural hurdles that would ensure a prolonged and difficult process.
Some were quick to link Germany's disorder to a broader crisis of democracy in the West. "The unthinkable has happened," said Christiane Hoffmann, deputy head of the Berlin bureau of Der Spiegel, a German magazine. In that sense, she said, "This is Germany's Brexit moment, its Trump moment."
Others said Germany's troubles were in many ways just a sign that the country was becoming more normal, not less. Having had only four chancellors since 1982, the country has known only a string of centrist governments that governed by consensus.
The crisis erupted less than three months since the last election, which brought the right-wing Alliance for Democracy, or AfD, into parliament, and in some ways represented the return of politics to a country long deprived of debate and policy disagreements.
"It's just another step in the long learning of democracy of Germany since World War II, going from a very stable proportional system to something more messy," said Henrik Enderlein, dean of the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin.
The bigger question, he said, was whether Merkel's pragmatic governing style had reached its limit in an era where people crave the clash of a wider spectrum of policies. "Her uber-pragmatism is reaching its end," he said. "It's hard to see a scenario where she returns to her previous position of power."
Merkel met in private Monday with President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who as head of state is charged with trying to break the deadlock in coalition talks. He could appoint a chancellor to lead a minority government or, failing that, call for new elections.
The potential for instability in Germany would be a major blow to the European Union. Merkel has been the region's dominant political figure of the past decade, credited with guiding the bloc through the 2008 financial crisis and, more recently, providing a powerful counterpoint to populists across the Continent and beyond.
Financial markets reacted calmly to the turmoil in Berlin, calculating that the German economy could power through the uncertainty. After opening lower, the DAX index of major stocks closed the day higher. The euro fell slightly.
But some economists warned that the longer term effects could be more severe. A weak government might be unable to agree on needed improvements to infrastructure and the education system, for example.
"The economic situation is very good," Christoph M. Schmidt, chairman of the German Council of Economic Experts, said in a statement. "But over the mid and long term there are big challenges, especially the demographic shift, digitalization, sensible development of the European Union, and climate change."
The political instability stems from the elections in Germany on Sept. 24, when Merkel's Christian Democrats finished first. But their share of the overall vote dropped significantly, while the far-right Alternative for Germany scored a record vote, entering parliament for the first time as the third-biggest grouping.
Even so, political analysts had expected Merkel to form a new coalition government that would have allowed her to remain as chancellor. That may still happen, but it will be harder now, and it is unlikely to happen soon, experts say.
Elsewhere in Europe, the possibility of a weakened Merkel and of an inward-looking Germany alarmed some leaders. The chancellor canceled a meeting in Berlin with Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands. In Paris, President Emmanuel Macron of France said that Merkel's difficulties were a serious hurdle to the partnership between their two countries.
France has "no interest in a worsening of the situation" in Germany, Macron said in a statement Monday. "Our wish is that our main partner, for the sake of Germany and Europe, remains strong and stable, so that we can move forward together," he added.
Even if Merkel's problems leave Macron as Europe's de facto strongest leader — with weak domestic opposition in France, a strengthening economy, and a good record so far on driving through economic overhauls — the French president had been counting on Merkel as an ally in his push to make changes to the European Union.
Macron will be aware that his agenda for the bloc, which includes a common defense force, a strengthened euro, and a joint finance minister, stands no chance without German backing.
Merkel had originally set Friday as the deadline for reaching an agreement with the Free Democrats, the Greens, and the Christian Social Union, which forms a conservative bloc with the chancellor's Christian Democrats. From the outset, all of those parties had differed markedly on key issues, notably migration and climate policies, resulting in strained talks that led to open sniping.
After they agreed to take talks into overtime, negotiators and party leaders failed to produce any breakthroughs over the weekend, and the Free Democrats quit the talks.
Merkel could try to approach the Social Democrats about forming a coalition. But the center-left party has served as the junior coalition partner to the Christian Democrats since 2013 and on Monday, the party's leader, Martin Schulz, said his group had no interest in another round.
As for new elections, the president can set the process in motion by proposing Merkel as chancellor, which would be put to a vote in parliament.
If Merkel were to win a majority in the first round of voting, the president could then name her as chancellor. If not, lawmakers would vote again, within 14 days.
If Merkel failed to win a majority in a second vote, then lawmakers would vote a third time and the candidate with the most votes would win. At that point, the president could name that person chancellor or simply dissolve the Parliament and order new elections, which would take place within 60 days.
But there is no guarantee that elections would improve the situation: Recent opinion polls predict that a new vote would bring little change, compared to the result in September. A Forsa poll released last week showed Merkel's conservatives at 32 percent, the Social Democrats on 20 percent, the Free Democrats at 12 percent, the Greens 10 percent and the AfD 12 percent.
Some worry that the AfD could benefit from the current chaos and increase its share of the vote. But even if it did, that share remains far below that of populist movements in other countries.
"Germany is not leaving the EU and it did not elect Donald Trump," said Kleine-Brockhoff. "It was unable to form a government on its first attempt. That's bad. It causes instability. But it's not the end of the world."
Melissa Eddy reported from Berlin, and Katrin Bennhold from London. Jack Ewing contributed reporting from Frankfurt, and Adam Nossiter from Paris.
Partway through our interview, I realized Scott Theis and I are in the same business. Listening.
As I explained that thought, his eyes locked on mine. He was concentrating, thinking of nothing other than what I was saying.
"A lot of people, when you're talking to them, they've already got the next thing they're going to say ready in their mind, and they're just waiting their turn," he said.
Theis is a barber. He's good at it, but he learned long ago that personality is more important than skill. His talent as a listener — and as a quick friend — has earned him a successful business.
Artist David Pettibone, whom I profiled a few weeks ago, mentioned a similar realization, that pictures coming from outside his head were more interesting than the ones inside. That's what I believe about writing, too.
Really listening means clearing out your mind to let another person's thoughts come in and live there for a bit. Letting those outside thoughts do their thing before you do your own. So often there's a pleasant surprise to be had. Or maybe not, but even if you hear nothing new, you reach another human being.
An older guy, whose grey curls had grown a bit ragged, sat in Theis' chair. They greeted each other by name. Theis didn't have to ask what kind of haircut he wanted.
These conversations aren't profound — or maybe they are. Aged, with kids grown, retirement in sight, thinking about the coming Alaska winter, the icy parking lots and dark.
Yes, Theis agreed, it gets dangerous.
But the clear, cold days in winter, the crisp light.
Yes, he agreed again, it can be so beautiful.
I asked Theis how he learned to listen. He talked about his father in Minnesota, a painting contractor so talkative that his mother wondered how he got anything done.
She raised eight kids, then went back to school to be a labor and delivery nurse. She was already an expert, he joked.
Theis was the third of eight, just ahead of twins.
"I just kind of blended into the background and ducked out of all the trouble," he said.
After graduating from high school in 1975, he got a suitcase for Christmas and left for Alaska. He bonded with the state on the Kodiak waterfront.
The crab boom was on, and skippers looking for crew would come into the bar and grill where Theis was washing dishes. He almost signed on a couple of times until he saw their boats.
A friend did take one of those jobs and had a boat sink under him in Shelikof Strait. The Coast Guard plucked him out of the water. He was still soaking wet when he walked into the bar and asked Theis to buy him a beer.
Instead of fishing, Theis went to vocational school to be a heavy-equipment operator. He chose a school in Montana because someone said in the Kodiak newspaper that the prettiest girls were there.
"That's how you make decisions when you're 20," he said.
But when he arrived, the equipment classes were full and a friend's girlfriend suggested he try classes in hair instead. They had 40 girls and only one guy.
Theis applied for his first job as a barber at A Cut Above, in the Sears mall, in 1979. The owner offered to make him a partner instead. He borrowed the money from his parents, paying it back in two years. When he did, they came to Alaska for a week of camping and fishing.
During that rare time alone with his parents, his dad died. A heart attack while making coffee one morning in a Fairbanks campground. The trip became one of Theis' most treasured memories.
He tells stories like these to customers in the chair. I met him when he cut my hair. He told me how proud he was of his sons, Dylan, an athlete who is coaching basketball in Australia, and Dustin, a premed student in Phoenix.
And he is proud of his wife, Lindy, an executive in an oil field services company. He loves breaking news to her about her industry. He hears everything in the barbershop.
He does her hair. She does his books.
With their boys grown, they dream of traveling the country by bicycle. Theis said 40 years in business—in another year—will be enough.
The shop has done well. He earned a degree to be a commercial pilot, but decided to stay his own boss, cutting hair and flying just for fun.
Hair grows in up and down economies. Theis said the hardest part of the business is finding qualified barbers who are good listeners.
"I started going to Great Clips getting a haircut, hoping to find an employee," he said. "And I got busted by a manager who said, 'I know what you're doing. Get out of here and don't come back.' It was embarrassing. I got 86'd from Great Clips. But I wanted to say, 'Pay your people decently and you won't have to worry about it.' "
Chains have big advantages in our economy. Theis and I sounded like old men, recalling the family businesses that thrived in Anchorage before the big box stores and national brands.
Theis' barbershop is one of the few old-fashioned survivors. He doesn't even have a TV. That would kill the conversation. His only compromise is baseball on the radio.
Nurturing conversations gave Theis a rich life, not just a career. Countless friends, a lot of knowledge, and a sense of service. He cut hair for three generations of some families. He traveled overseas with a friend he met in the barber chair. He followed another to a nursing home.
He learned how this worked when he was still in school, cutting an old man's hair.
"He started telling me how he had contemplated suicide," Theis said. "It really kind of threw me back, but I kept talking to him. I tried not to act surprised or alarmed, but I just let him talk, and I think that's what he needed. People just need to talk, and we just let them."
The views expressed here are the writer's and are not necessarily endorsed by Alaska Dispatch News, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a piece for consideration, email commentary(at)alaskadispatch.com. Send submissions shorter than 200 words to email@example.com or click here to submit via any web browser.
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New York City has plenty to worry about from sea level rise. But according to a new study by NASA researchers, it should worry specifically about two major glacier systems in Greenland's northeast and northwest – but not so much about other parts of the vast northern ice sheet.
The research draws on a curious and counterintuitive insight that sea level researchers have emphasized in recent years: As ocean levels rise around the globe, they will not do so evenly. Rather, because of the enormous scale of the ice masses that are melting and feeding the oceans, there will be gravitational effects and even subtle effects on the crust and rotation of the Earth. This, in turn, will leave behind a particular "fingerprint" of sea level rise, depending on when and precisely which parts of Greenland or Antarctica collapse.
Now, Eric Larour, Erik Ivins and Surendra Adhikari of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory have teased out one fascinating implication of this finding: Different cities should fear the collapse of different large glaciers.
"It tells you what is the rate of increase of sea level in that city with respect to the rate of change of ice masses everywhere in the world," Larour said of the new tool his team created.
The research was published in Science Advances, accompanied by an online feature that allows you to choose from among 293 coastal cities and see how certain ice masses could affect them if the ice enters the ocean. The scientists also released a video that captures some of how it works.
The upshot is that New York needs to worry about certain parts of Greenland collapsing, but not so much others. Sydney, however, needs to worry about the loss of particular sectors of Antarctica – the ones farther away from it – and not so much about the ones nearer. And so on.
This is the case because sea level actually decreases near a large ice body that loses mass, because that mass no longer exerts the same gravitational pull on the ocean, which accordingly shifts farther away. This means that from a sea level rise perspective, one of the safest things is to live close to a large ice mass that is melting.
"If you are close enough, then the effect of ice loss will be a sea level drop, not sea level rise," said Adhikari. The effect is immediate across the globe.
Indeed, the research shows that for cities like Oslo and Reykjavik, which are close to Greenland, a collapse of many of the ice sheet's key sectors would lower, not raise, the local sea level. (These places have more to fear from ice loss in Antarctica, even though it is much farther away.)
The risk is mainly from the northern parts of Greenland and especially from the ice sheet's northeast, according to research.
This is revealing because while Greenland has hundreds of glaciers, three in particular are known to pose the greatest sea level risk because of their size and, if they collapse, how they could allow the ocean to reach deep into the remaining ice sheet, continually driving more ice loss. The three most threatening by far are Jakobshavn glacier on Greenland's central western coast, Petermann glacier in its far northwest and Zachariae glacier in the far northeast. Zachariae is partof a massive feature known as the Northeast Greenland Ice Stream, which reaches all the way to the center of the ice sheet and through which fully 12 percent of Greenland's total ice flows.
The new research shows that Petermann, and especially the northeast ice stream, are a far bigger threat to New York than Jakobshavn is.
In a high-end global warming scenario run out for 200 years, the study reported, Petermann glacier would cause 3.23 inches of globally averaged sea level rise, the northeast ice stream would cause 4.17 inches, and Jakobshavn would cause 1.73 inches. Of this total, New York would see two inches of rise from Petermann, 2.83 inches from the Northeast ice stream and just 0.6 inches from Jakobshavn.
This all really matters because in the real world, glaciers are melting at very different rates. Jakobshavn is the biggest ice loser from Greenland and is beating a very rapid retreat at the moment. Zachariae is starting to lose ice and looking increasingly worrisome, but still nothing like Jakobshavn. Petermann is holding up the best, for now, though it has lost large parts of the floating ice shelf that stabilizes it and holds it in place.
You will note that in no case does New York get the full effect of ice loss from any of these parts of Greenland – it's still far too close to the ice sheet. But Miami gets 95 percent of the globe's total sea level rise from the northeast ice stream, while distant Rio de Janeiro gets 124 percent, or over five inches in the scenario above.
The same goes for Antarctica – its melting, too, will have differential effects around the world. And that matters even more because the ice masses that could be lost are considerably larger than in Greenland. Antarctica, like Greenland, is melting at different rates. Substantialice loss is already happening in west Antarctica and in the Antarctic peninsula. Meanwhile, although scientists are watching the far larger eastern Antarctica carefully, so far it's not contributing nearly as much to sea level rise.
Farther away – like, say, New York – Antarctic loss is a big deal. Research has shown that if west Antarctica collapses, the U.S. East Coast would see morethan the average global sea level rise.
The current research does not take into account all aspects of sea level rise. Shifting ocean currents can redistribute the mass of the oceans and change sea level, for instance, and as global warming progresses, it causes seawater to expand, and thus a steady rise in seas.
Overall, though, the new study underscores a common theme of recent climate developments: We are now altering the Earth on such a massive scale that it puts us at the mercy of fundamental laws of physics as they mete out the consequences.