Defendant in homicide case will return to Juneau

A former Juneau resident listened to a Juneau judge 500 miles away over the phone Tuesday as she made her first court appearance in connection to a year-old homicide.

Nora Edith Thomas, 28, spoke only briefly to Judge Thomas Nave during a hearing in Juneau District Court as he explained that she would be extradited as quickly as possible to Juneau from the Mat-Su Pre-Trial Facility where she is currently being held.

Nave expressed concern that Thomas have time in Juneau to speak with her public defender, Eric Hedland, before her next court hearing.

Alaska authorities arrested Thomas Jan. 29 on suspicion of second-degree murder for the death of 50-year-old Christopher K. Kenney.

According to charging court documents quoting Juneau Police Department Sgt. Dominic Branson, Thomas was Kenney’s girlfriend at the time of his death. She shared a Gruening Park apartment with him and three children, one of which was hers and the other two Kenney’s. At 5:26 a.m. Nov. 29, 2014, Thomas called JPD to report Kenney fell and a knife landed in his chest.

“Thomas said she was awakened by Kenney [sic] yelling in the living room ‘call 911,’” Branson said in the police complaint filed in court. “Thomas said she got up and when she found Kenney, he was bleeding from the chest and was trying to exit the apartment.”

Thomas told police officers at the time that she pulled Kenney back into the apartment as she began calling 911, according to court documents.

Detectives later contacted a witness in the same apartment building who reportedly told officers he was awake in the early morning when Kenney was stabbed and that he heard a man scream, followed immediately by a woman screaming, the complaint states. When the witness checked the hallways to find out what happened, he reported seeing Kenney trying to leave his apartment.

“(The witness) said as Kenney exited his apartment, he saw two arms reach out from inside the apartment, grab Kenney and pull him back inside before closing the door,” according to court documents.

An autopsy by the State of Alaska Medical Examiner’s Office later found that Kenney’s cause of death was a stab wound to the chest. He also had a cut on his wrist, but it did not have the markings of a defensive wound, according to the report, as summarized in the police complaint.

More than a year later, JPD Detective Nicholas Garza — one of the responding officers the morning of the stabbing — was sent to Wasilla (where Thomas moved shortly after the incident) to help the Wasilla and Palmer police departments in the investigation. During an interview Jan. 27, Thomas revealed to Garza that she was physically and mentally abused by Kenney, according to the charging document.

On Jan. 28, outside Thomas’ home in Wasilla, Thomas also reportedly told Garza an argument preceded Kenney’s stabbing.

According to the police complaint, Kenney woke Thomas up at 4 a.m., something he normally did, and it led to an argument. He alledgedly pushed her, then she grabbed a knife, she told Garza, according to the complaint.

“She said she does not remember the moment when the knife went into Kenney’s chest,” Garza said in the police complaint.

Thomas remains in custody in lieu of $250,000 bond. Her next court appearance is Friday for a preliminary hearing. That hearing will be vacated if an indictment is reached before then.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to reflect the parentage of the three children inside the home.

More in News

(Juneau Empire File)
Aurora forecast for the week of Nov. 27

These forecasts are courtesy of the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute… Continue reading

Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire File
Even the Grinch got into the holiday spirit at last year’s Gallery Walk on Friday, Dec. 2, 2022.
An abundance of traditional and new ways to capitalize on this year’s Gallery Walk

More than 50 events scheduled Friday afternoon and evening from downtown to Douglas.

This view is from Wrangell on Sept. 11, 2022. (Photo by Joaqlin Estus/ICT)
Conservation group supports formation of new Alaska Native corporations

The conservation group the Wilderness Society has changed its position and now… Continue reading

From her hospital bed on Friday, Nov. 24, Christina Florschutz demonstrates how she pulled pajama bottoms that she found in the landslide debris over her legs, arms and head to keep warm. Her house was destroyed in the landslide, and after spending the night in the wreckage, she was rescued the morning of Tuesday, Nov. 21. (Caroleine James / Wrangell Sentinel)
Elementary school aide who survived Wrangell landslide calls circumstances a miracle

Christina Florschutz trapped overnight by landslide that killed at least 4 people, with 2 missing.

Lylah Habeger (left) and Jaila Ramirez lead the Konfeta Corps during a rehearsal of Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker” at Juneau Dance Theatre. The ballet will be performed in the Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.At.Kalé auditorium Friday through Sunday. (Photo courtesy of Juneau Dance Theatre)
‘Nutcracker’ tradition, with a twirl of new choreography

This year’s performances feature a cast of 93, ages 5 to 78

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Police calls for Sunday, Nov. 26, 2023

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Police calls for Saturday, Nov. 25, 2023

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Rain at the National Weather Service Juneau station on Nov. 11 doesn’t exist as snow until hits the upper portion of nearby Thunder Mountain. So far this November has been both warmer and wetter than normal. (Photo by National Weather Service Juneau)
El Niño playing outsize role in Juneau’s warmer temperatures, according to National Weather Service

Early peek at numbers shows Juneau is 4.9 degrees warmer than average this November.

An emergency rescue vehicle parks in front of the Riverview Senior Living center at midday Monday after resident Nathan Bishop, 58, was discovered in the attic about 40 hours after he was reported missing. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Nathan Bishop found alive in attic of Riverview Senior Living complex after 40-hour search

Family members say they remain supportive of facility’s locally available assisted living services.

Most Read