Thursday, June 20, 2013
"Finally, Justice For Bonnie"
Jury convicts Kenneth Dion cf raping, killing Bonnie Craig
ANCHORAGE—One of Alaska’s most infamous cold cases is now closed. An Anchorage jury convicted Wednesday 41-year-old Kenneth Dion of raping and murdering 18-year-old Bonnie Craig nearly 17 years ago.
For Craig’s family, the anticipation of 17 years was distilled into the minutes—fraught with suspense, hope and prayers—leading up to the reading of the verdict.
Dion, handcuffed, strode in as all eyes in the crowded courtroom turned toward him.
Judge Jack Smith asked Dion and his defense team to stand as he read the jury’s unanimous verdict: “We, the jury, find the defendant, Kenneth Dion, guilty of murder in the first degree.”
Smith read the other verdicts: “guilty of murder in the second degree as charged in count 2… guilty of murder in the second degree as charged in count 3… guilty of sexual assault in the first degree.”
With Craig’s boyfriend at the time, Cameron Miyasaki, and Craig’s father, Gary Campbell, listening to the verdict via phone, those in the courtroom seemed to breathe a collective sigh, as Craig’s mother burst into tears, leaning on the shoulder of her youngest son, Adam Campbell. Craig’s younger sister, Samantha Campbell, smiled, tearing up, and Craig’s older brother, Jason Craig, wept.
“We were praying for guilty,” Adam said, his arms around wife, Trina, and his older brother, Jason, as they stood outside the courtroom after the verdicts had been read. “Praying for justice.”
Karen Foster, Bonnie Craig’s mother, hugged friends.
“It's so wonderful,” she said, crying. “It's unbelievable for us all. “It's just scarier than hell being in this situation. He could've gotten away with it.”
Craig’s brothers said, over the past two decades, they had moments when they’d doubted the case would ever go to trial.
“I didn’t think they were ever going to catch anybody,” Jason said. “So it's very nice they did.”
Foster said she and those who knew Bonnie knew that “all the awful things” the defense claimed about the young woman—that she’d had a secret life and planned to cheat on her boyfriend—“we know none of it’s true.”
“We know she loved Cameron and she was nothing but the sweetest kid,” Foster said.
It was “hell,” Samantha Campbell said, “watching the autopsy photos of my sister, hearing (the defense) making my sister to be a bad person.”
As for Dion, Foster said, “as long as he's behind bars for the rest of his life, that's all we need, so he won’t hurt anybody else's child.”
It took nearly 17 years, but “finally, some justice for my sister,” Samantha Campbell said. “Justice for Bonnie.”
Dion is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 31.