Both sides rest case in murder trial for death of 2 troopers

FAIRBANKS — The defense rested its case Wednesday in the trial of a Tanana man charged with fatally shooting two Alaska State Troopers in 2014 after the defendant declined to testify on his own behalf.

Defense Attorney Greg Parvin had expressed surprise that District Attorney Greggory Olson finished his case “a full day ahead of schedule” before his client, Nathanial Kangas, informed the judge of his plans not to testify.

[Trial begins for Tanana man accused of killing two troopers.]

Kangas is charged with first and second-degree murder, assault and tampering with evidence. The 22-year-old is accused of killing Sgt. Scott Johnson and Trooper Gabe Rich in May 2014 while they were attempting to arrest his father for threatening a village public safety officer, The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.

Jurors were presented with evidence Wednesday from trooper investigator Ramin Dunford, who played an animated video he created of the crime scene and audio from the slain troopers’ recorders.

The animation started outside the Kangas home with audio of Arvin Kangas arguing with Johnson and Rich and then struggling with the two troopers as they tried to restrain him. The video then continues from Nathanial Kangas’ point of view as he advances toward the troopers and shoots them.

State medical examiner Dr. Kenneth Gallagher also took the stand during the trial and testified about the troopers’ wounds. Johnson was shot in the head and the shoulder and died instantly. Rich was shot in the side and the neck and died a short time later.

Arvin Kangas was found guilty in April 2015 of evidence tampering for manipulating the troopers’ bodies and guns after they were shot and killed. He was sentenced in September to eight years in prison.

The trial will resume Friday with closing arguments.

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