Ed Schoenfeld talks during the Capital City Killers tour that was offered through the Juneau-Douglas City Museum. Schoenfeld covered crime and the courts during a nearly 40-year career in journalism in Juneau. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Ed Schoenfeld talks during the Capital City Killers tour that was offered through the Juneau-Douglas City Museum. Schoenfeld covered crime and the courts during a nearly 40-year career in journalism in Juneau. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Capital City Killers tour details grisly events in Juneau’s past

True crime tour covers murders in disntant and recent past

Correction: An earlier version of this article referred to a site as the former location of the Sixth Street School. The school was known as The Fifth Street School.

Some ravens added atmosphere, but sunny weather abated the grimness of the Capital City Killers tour led by Ed Schoenfeld and Betsy Longenbaugh.

The married couple, who are both journalists, led a sold-out walking tour from Juneau-Douglas City Museum Saturday to sites connected to Juneau murders. Despite dealing with dark subjects, the tone of the true crime tour was decidedly chipper, and the walk concluded with cookies and cider.

“We’re not really blood and guts people,” Schoenfeld said at one point during the tour. “But true crime is very fascinating.”

Longenbaugh said the idea for the tour came from a shared interest in travel and enjoyment of tour walks.

“After I retired, I started reading about true crime,” Longenbaugh said.

A list of murders within walking distance of the museum was put together, and it was winnowed down slightly for the tour timed for Halloween.

“We had a list about twice as long,” Schoenfeld said.

While the tour guides said they would like to lead another iteration of the tour, they also said they’re glad it was a special occasion rather than a daily task.

“This is a hard topic to talk about,” Longenbaugh said.

In total, 11 murders were covered at a handful of stops over the course of about 90 minutes.

These were the highlights.

The stop: Juneau-Douglas City Museum standing in for the Territorial Courthouse.

The killings: The hangings of Nelson Charles, Austin Nelson and Eugene LaMoore. Charles was hanged for the killing of his mother-in-law. Nelson and LaMoore were hanged for the killing of a storekeeper named Jim Ellen.

Extra detail: LaMoore and Nelson were essentially executed because authorities could not discern who actually killed Ellen, Longenbaugh said. As a silver lining, she said such injustices and a disproportionate number of people executed being people of color helped to contribute to Alaska abolishing the death penalty two years before statehood.

The stop: The playground at the former site of the Fifth Street School

The crime: The killing of Sarah Hedvig “Sammy” Samuelson and Agness Anne LeRoi, also known as the Trunk Murder Case. Samuelson taught elementary school in Juneau, but the murders happened after she and LeRoi moved to Phoenix, Arizona after Samuelson was diagnosed with tuberculosis.

Extra detail: Winnie Ruth Judd, who was convicted of murdering LeRoi after the remains of both women were found in Judd’s luggage, later earned a reputation as an escape artist from a facility for the criminally insane.

The stop: Fourth and Franklin streets (the former site of the American Legion Hall)

The killings: The killing of Charlie von Dahmer by Robert “Peanut Kid” Stroud. Stroud was found guilty of manslaughter and later killed a guard while in prison.

Extra detail: During his extended time behind bars, Stroud earned his more famous nickname, “The Birdman of Alcatraz,” and wrote the book “The Disease of Canaries.”

The stop: Third and Seward streets (former site of B.M. Behrend’s Department Store)

The killing: Juneau’s first bank robber William McGhee was assailed by multiple witnesses to his crime and fatally shot when exiting B.M. Behrend’s Bank.

Extra detail: According to newspaper reports at the time, among McGhee’s last words were a wish that he could have “riddled” a police officer with bullets.

The stop: The 200 block of Front Street (across from the Imperial Saloon)

The killings: Victor Johnson shot Emmanuel D. Telles shortly after Telles was acquitted of the murders of Anne and James Benolken, who were found dead in their apartment in 1982. Newton Lambert was convicted of one count of first-degree murder in connection to the grisly deaths.

Extra detail: Johnson did not flee after he shot Telles.

The stop: The cruise docks

The killings: The unconnected killings of Richard and Julianne Vilardo of Maryland, which happened before Scott Tomaszewski went on an Inside Passage cruise and the killing of Kristy Manzanares, which happened on board a cruise ship.

Extra detail: Tomaszewski ultimately pleaded guilty to the 2015 murder of his neighbors. Accused cruise ship murderer Kenneth Manzanares is still awaiting trial in connection to his wife’s death.

The stop: The Federal Building

The killings: Both the trial of John Peel, who was acquitted after multiple trials in connection to the 1982 killing of eight people on board the fishing boat, Investor, and the 1980 disappearance of Eli Sharclane, who was apparently thrown off the Douglas Bridge. The events are unrelated aside from their proximity.

Extra detail: Peter Castillo was ultimately convicted of the attempted murder of Sharclane, although a body was not found.


• Contact arts and culture reporter Ben Hohenstatt at 523-2243 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com.


Betsy Longenbaugh talks during the Capital City Killers tour. Longenbaugh covered crime and courts during her journalistic career. Longenbaugh said the idea for the true crime walking tour came from a love of tour walks while travel, and knowledge of the macabre topic. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

Betsy Longenbaugh talks during the Capital City Killers tour. Longenbaugh covered crime and courts during her journalistic career. Longenbaugh said the idea for the true crime walking tour came from a love of tour walks while travel, and knowledge of the macabre topic. (Ben Hohenstatt | Capital City Weekly)

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