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Trooper shooting suspect appears in an emotional courtroom

By Heather Hintze 6:51 PM May 3, 2014
ANCHORAGE –

It was an emotional day in court as the man accused of murdering two state troopers made his first appearance before a judge.

Twenty-year-old Nathanial Kangas of Tanana is charged with two counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of Sgt. Scott Johnson and Trooper Gabe Rich.

Court documents say Kangas shot both troopers in the back at close range, firing a total of seven rounds.

Kangas faces up to 200 years in prison if convicted of the crime.

Murder in the first degree against a police officer carries a mandatory sentence of 99 years.

The judge set a $2 million cash performance bond, plus another $2 million cash appearance bond.

The courtroom in Fairbanks was full of family members of both men, as well as nearly 50 troopers and officers.

“It was obviously very tough for the men and women who showed up for court today,” said Capt. Burke Barrick with the Alaska State Troopers. “It was difficult for the families and you saw the emotion from the law enforcement officers. It was very difficult for many people but I’m glad the arraignment is over.”

Kangas’ mother Judy and his little brother both spoke to the judge this afternoon.

She and his brother choked back tears as they said they were sorry.

Kangas himself also spoke when the judge asked him for input on bail.

He also said he was sorry for his actions.

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