Attempted Murder, Heroin Cases Continued to January

The Nome court. Photo: Matthew F. Smith, KNOM file.

Nome’s superior court judge, Romano DiBenedetto, heard more than 60 cases in a busy session Thursday morning that extended into the afternoon. On the docket were cases involving attempted murder and murder charges, as well as one charge for possession of heroin.

In July, 38-year-old Frank Johnson of Nome allegedly stabbed a Nome police officer with a kitchen knife. Johnson was charged with attempted murder in the first degree, as well as assault and resisting arrest.

During Johnson’s felony call this morning, Judge DiBenedetto granted a continuance in the case. He allowed for an additional omnibus hearing on December 6th because of an upcoming substitution of attorney. Johnson’s attorney, Robert Noreen, will be retiring at the end of November. Frank Campbell will take over the case.

“Let’s start with: Do you have all the discovery in the case?” DiBenedetto said. “The state’s got a point — I don’t want to wait until January 18th to tell me that you’re missing A, B and C.”

After that omnibus, Johnson’s trial call is scheduled for January 18th at the Nome Courthouse.

In a separate murder-related case, also from July, 43-year-old Frank Lee of Teller allegedly stabbed 31-year-old William A. Johnson of Utqiagvik. Johnson died in the incident. Lee was charged with murder in the first and second degree.

Lee reportedly refused to be transported to court or appear telephonically for his omnibus hearing thursday morning. His attorney, public defender James Ferguson, requested a continuance in order to evaluate additional, recently received evidence.

DiBenedetto granted Johnson a fourth omnibus hearing for January 18th in the Nome Courthouse.

Ferguson also represents 25-year-old Katherine Olson, of Nome. In August, Olson was charged with possession of, and distribution of, heroin after being intercepted in Anchorage by the Western Alaska Alcohol and Narcotics Team. In Olson’s omnibus hearing Thursday morning, Ferguson requested a continuance, also to review additional evidence.

Olson is scheduled to appear in the Nome Courthouse for another hearing on January 18th.

Photo at top: The Nome courtroom. (Photo: Matthew F. Smith, KNOM.)