Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Lead Investigator In Bonnie Craig Murder Case Testifies
State Also Calls Witness Defense Had Subpoenaed
ANCHORAGE—The Troopers’ lead investigator on the Bonnie Craig murder testified Tuesday he told the victim’s family things he shouldn’t have said and failed to thoroughly investigate the scene at McHugh Creek nearly 17 years ago.
Investigator Curt Harris, who is now retired, said that September 28, 1994 case was the first time he’d led a homicide investigation. Harris said he’d been with Alaska State Troopers for 14 years.
“I actually got down on my hands and knees,” Harris said, describing how he looked for clues as to Craig’s manner of death. “I slowly moved along the path that was there, going back along to the west or toward the highway, looking for anything of significance or disturbance in the vegetation, distinct footprints or drag marks or scuff marks.”
But, Harris said, he did not search beyond the crime scene tape, nor did he take photos of “fresh scrape marks” on plants near the ledge off which Troopers said Craig had been pushed.
Harris also testified that he had initially told Craig's family she had died in an accidental fall and that foul play was not suspected.
“I said things I probably shouldn't have said,” Harris said on the stand. “In retrospect, it was a stupid thing to say. I was concerned, sensitive to this family's feelings. Looking back at that time, yeah, I said the wrong thing is what I did. I chose to take a route that would seem to make this something that wasn't as serious as it turned out to be.”
The state also called to the stand Joe Barr, who worked with Craig at Sam’s Club back in 1994.
The defense initially tried to subpoena Barr from Texas, where he has since relocated, as its witness, but Barr “fought that,” said Andrew Lambert, defense attorney for Craig’s accused killer, Kenneth Dion.
Lambert said Barr’s 1995 testimony to Troopers is proof that Craig had led a secret life her boyfriend and family did not know about—a life the defense said included a tryst with Dion.
Barr said his relationship with Craig was platonic.
“Were you interested in dating her when you were talking to her on the phone?” asked assistant district attorney Jenna Gruenstein.
“No, I was not,” Barr said.
“Did she ever talk to you about a relationship she was in?” Gruenstein asked.
“Yes, she did,” Barr said. “She talked very good of her boyfriend and I believe he lived in California.”
During cross-examination, Lambert referred to Barr’s 1995 interview with Troopers.
“She said she had a boyfriend, you told Troopers you felt she had a crush on you,” Lambert said.
“That's what I said in the transcript but I don't feel that way today,” Barr said.
“She called you at least twice,” Lambert said. “You never called her at all did you?”
“No, I did not,” Barr said.
“And in fact you told Troopers numerous times in this interview that she'd been calling you all week long,” Lambert said.
But during the prosecution’s redirect examination, Barr said he was in his early 20s at the time, “typical boy—maybe cocky, overzealous.”