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Two Murder-Related Cases Continued Down the Line at Nome Courthouse

Alaskans awaiting arraignment in Nome's courthouse. Photo: Matthew F. Smith, KNOM file.

Nome’s Superior Court Judge, Romano DiBenedetto, had his hands full with more than 50 cases on the docket yesterday morning alone. Two of those cases involved murder charges.

Back in July, 38-year-old Frank Johnson of Nome allegedly stabbed a Nome Police officer with a kitchen knife. Johnson was subsequently charged with attempted murder in the first degree, as well as assault and resisting arrest. During Johnson’s omnibus hearing yesterday, Robert Noreen, Johnson’s attorney, requested a continuance in this case.

Judge DiBenedetto scheduled Johnson to appear in the Nome Courthouse for another hearing on October 19th.

In a separate murder case from mid-July, 43-year-old Frank Lee of Teller allegedly stabbed 31-year-old William A. Johnson of Unalakleet and Utqiagvik. Johnson died in the incident. Lee was subsequently charged with murder in the first degree, as well as extreme indifference. During Lee’s omnibus hearing yesterday morning, public defender James Ferguson, Lee’s attorney, requested a continuance in this case on his behalf. Lee reportedly refused transport to attend his hearing in court.

Lee is scheduled to appear in the Nome Courthouse for another hearing on September 21st.

Gabe Colombo also contributed to this story.

Note: an earlier version of this story erroneously described Frank Lee’s charge as “attempted murder in the first degree,” rather than “murder in the first degree.” The error has been corrected.

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