Trial set for January in Homer murder case

  • Homer resident Lee John Henry, 55, listens during an omnibus hearing Monday, Nov. 21, 2016, in Kenai, Alaska. Henry was indicted Oct. 20 on murder and robbery charges for the 2013 death of Mark Matthews in Homer.-Photo by Megan Pacer, Morris News Service - Alaska

KENAI — A Homer man accused of the city’s only previously unsolved murder appeared in Kenai Superior Court on Monday.

Lee John Henry, 55, is charged in the 2013 death of Mark Matthews, then 61, near the Poopdeck Trail in Homer.

He was indicted by a grand jury on Oct. 20 on one count of first-degree murder, three counts of second-degree murder, one count of manslaughter and one count of first-degree robbery. Homer police arrested him for first-degree murder on Oct. 19 after the department got a tip from an area resident, the Homer News reported.

Henry appeared at the Kenai Courthouse on Monday for an omnibus hearing, where his public defender told Kenai Superior Court Judge Charles Huguelet that Henry’s defense does not have discovery yet. Kenai District Attorney Scot Leaders told the court that the state had just sent initial discovery over to the defense Monday after working on it earlier in the day.

“It’s just the initial packet,” Leaders told the court. “There’s substantial additional discovery. It’s to the nature of several thousand pages, just to give a heads up.”

Henry agreed to waive the speedy trial rule, and Huguelet set his trial for the week of Jan. 23, with a trial call on Jan. 17. His next omnibus hearing is set for Dec. 12.

Murder in the first and second degrees is an unclassified felony. First-degree murder is punishable by up to 99 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000. Manslaughter and first-degree robbery are class A felonies, punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

Megan Pacer is a reporter for the Peninsula Clarion. She can be reached at megan.pacer@peninsulaclarion.com.

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