- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 20, 2014

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - New charges related to the shooting deaths of two Alaska State Troopers accuse a father and son of moving the bodies of the two dead officers to reposition their service weapons.

Nathanial Kangas, 20, already faces first- and second-degree murder charges, evidence tampering and hindering prosecution counts in the May 1 deaths of Sgt. Scott Johnson and Trooper Gabe Rich. His father, Arvin Kangas, 58, was originally charged with evidence tampering and hindering prosecution.

Supplemental charges were handed down Friday and both men pleaded not guilty to the new charges during an arraignment Monday, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported (https://bit.ly/1lKg3eg ). Messages left Tuesday by The Associated Press with the Kangas’ attorneys weren’t immediately returned.

Both men now face three additional counts of evidence tampering. Arvin Kangas also had three additional hindering prosecution charges filed against him.

The charges also accuse the men of moving marijuana plants and seeds out of the house in Tanana after the shooting.

The new charges don’t indicate a motive for moving, or repositioning the troopers’ Glocks under their bodies, but Trooper Col. James Cockrell said at a news conference on May 2 that neither officer had time to draw their weapon during the shooting. The Office of Special Prosecutions and Appeals, which is handling the case for the state, didn’t immediately return a message left before office hours Tuesday.

Johnson and Rich had flown to Tanana, 130 miles west of Fairbanks, to arrest Kangas‘ father, Arvin. A village public safety officer had reported that Arvin Kangas had driven without a license and pointed a rifle at him.

Johnson and Rich contacted Arvin Kangas, and as he tried to go into his home, they struggled. Nathanial Kangas emerged with an assault rifle and fired seven shots into the backs of the troopers, according to investigators.

Defense attorneys are seeking to a summer trial in the community of Nenana, which is the closest district courthouse to the village of Tanana.


Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, https://www.newsminer.com

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