Nathanial Kangas found guilty of murder in deaths of two Alaska State Troopers
A jury found Nathanial Kangas guilty Monday of first-degree murder in the 2014 deaths of two Alaska State Troopers, according to Fairbanks District Attorney Gregg Olson.
On May 1, 2014 troopers had flown into to the village of Tanana to arrest Kangas’ father for threatening village public safety officer Mark Hagland. After troopers arrived the elder Kangas resisted arrest and his son, Nathaniel, opened fire on the troopers.
After listening to instructions from Superior Court Judge Paul Lyle and closing arguments in a Fairbanks courtroom Friday, the jury adjourned for the weekend and resumed Monday morning.
Kangas, 22, was also found guilty of third-degree assault and tampering with physical evidence, Olson confirmed. The guilty verdict was announced Monday after less than six hours of deliberations, according to the Fairbanks Daily Newsminer.
The jury heard opening statement’s in Kangas’ trial last Monday, shortly after the anniversary of the day trooper Sgt. Scott Johnson and trooper Gabe Rich were shot to death.
Kangas’ defense attorney Greg Parvin argued Kangas “did not intend to kill anybody.” He said Kangas shot the troopers because he was “reacting to a crisis.”
On Tuesday, Alaska State Troopers Director Col. James Cockrell issued the following statement in reaction to the verdict:
“The Alaska State Troopers would like to thank the Jurors for due diligence and thoughtfulness in reaching the verdict that they did in the murder of Sergeant Scott Johnson and Trooper Gabe Rich. This verdict adds some closure to this devastating event that took place in Tanana on May 1, 2014.
However, we are still attempting to heal from this tragedy that has forever changed the families of Scott and Gabe as well as the troopers, both AST and AWT, that have served the state of Alaska for the past 75 years.
My heartfelt thoughts are with the families of Scott and Gabe as they have been waiting for the verdict to be reached.”
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