In hearings last Friday at the Homer Courthouse, Homer District Court Judge Margaret Murphy granted motions by defense attorneys to dismiss felony charges for two Homer men involved in a shooting on May 19 at Karen Hornaday Park. In separate hearings held telephonically Friday afternoon, June 10, on a motion by his defense attorney, Nathan Lockwood, Murphy dismissed a charge of third-degree assault with a deadly weapon and third-degree misconduct involving a controlled substance, methamphetamines, against Reily Arambul, 20.
Arambul still faces a charge of fourth-degree weapons misconduct, firing recklessly.
Murphy also dismissed charges of first-degree robbery and second-degree assault, both felonies, against Sean Carpenter, 26, for the park incident. Carpenter also had a hearing for an April 25 arrest on charges of first-degree burglary and second-degree theft, both felonies. On a motion by Carpenter’s defense attorney, Mark Osterman, Murphy dismissed the burglary charge and reduced the theft charge to attempted third-degree theft, a misdemeanor.
The charges were dismissed under court rules requiring dismissal if a preliminary hearing is not held within 10 days or there is not a grand jury indictment. Prosecutors can re-file the same or similar charges.
About 10:10 p.m. May 19, Homer Police went to a report of a shot fired in the parking lot of Karen Hornaday Park below the playground and about 300 feet away from where children played. In charging documents, police alleged there had been a drug deal involving Arambul and Carpenter. Police said Carpenter tried to strangle Arambul while he sat in the back seat of Carpenter’s Jeep Cherokee. Arambul got away and went to his truck. Police allege when Carpenter pulled up in his Jeep, Arambul fired a single shotgun slug into the door of a Jeep Cherokee, missing Carpenter, who sat in the driver’s seat. The shot went into the Jeep’s floor panel.
For both defendants, their attorneys moved to dismiss the more serious charges under court rules requiring dismissal if a preliminary hearing is not held within 10 days or there is not a grand jury indictment. Both attorneys said they did not receive filings of any plea agreement offers. They asked the prosecution, represented by assistant district attorney, Craig Sparks, if any offers were to be made. Sparks said he did not have any paperwork regarding plea agreements. Both attorneys quickly moved for dismissal, which Murphy granted.
In the bureaucratic maneuvering often involving felony criminal cases, it’s not uncommon for defense and prosecution attorneys to agree to continue hearings if a plea agreement is in the process. In those cases, the parties agree to suspend the preliminary hearing rules as well as speedy trial rules — essentially, stopping the clock.
Because Arambul had a misdemeanor remaining, Lockwood asked for a bail hearing. He requested a reduction in bail and to eliminate third-party custody. Sparks objected.
“Shooting at an occupied vehicle — that’s not governed by the bail schedule,” he said. “Mr. Arambul still represents a significant risk — given these allegations — to the community.”
Murphy set cash-only performance bail of $1,500 with third-party custody.
“My concern here is the safety of the alleged victims and the community,” Murphy said.
Carpenter remains in custody at Wildwood Pretrial Facility on other charges. At a hearing on Monday to review the Hornaday Park incident charges, the theft case and two 2015 charges against Carpenter, Judge Murphy continued those cases to Aug. 8. Osterman said at Monday’s hearing that he had received a plea agreement proposal from the state, but did not have time to review it. He said he would discuss it this week with Carpenter.
Michael Armstrong can be reached at email@example.com.