Final charges dismissed in Bethel murder case

by Angela Denning-Barnes on March 23, 2012

David Ngaruri Kenney. Photo-Karisan Media.

Charges have been dropped against David Kenney, a man associated with the Benjamin Kaiser murder case. Kenney’s charges were dismissed March 14 in the Fairbanks Courthouse.

Kaiser, a 19-year-old from Hooper Bay, was tortured and killed in October of 2010 by Jeff Hout of Bethel and Harry Williams of Kwethluk. The two men were convicted of 2nd degree murder in February.

In the same case, David Kenney, age 39, was being charged with two felonies- tampering with evidence and hindering prosecution. The charges were brought in November of 2010 when Kenney was the tenant of Jeff Hout, living downstairs from him.

A witness in the case said Kenney saw the teenager tied up in Hout’s shop after being tortured. According to charging documents, Kenney first denied knowing anything about it. After some prodding, Kenney explained to police that he told Hout and Williams to bring the victim inside and get him medical treatment. Kenney never came forward to police himself. He did, however, talk about the incident to a fellow law clerk at the Bethel courthouse where he worked.

Kenney’s lawyer filed a motion for his statements to police to be suppressed, one of several motions filed to dismiss the case. Other motions included dismissing the two charges of tampering with evidence and hindering prosecution. His lawyer, Ben Crittenden, says it wasn’t made clear what Kenney had tampered with or that he hindered prosecution at all.

The motions were not addressed by the district attorney’s office and were eventually dismissed. D.A. June Stein did not return calls to KYUK about the dismissal.

Kenney is originally from Africa and had written a book about being tortured before fleeing to the United States. The book is called, “Asylum Denied, A Refugee’s Struggle for Safety in America.”

He no longer lives in Bethel.

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