Attorneys in Sockeye fire case ask for more time to prepare, granted

Attorneys for the two defendants in the Sockeye fire case have asked for more time from the court to prepare a case for trial.

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The Sockeye Fire which devastated Willow in 2015 (Photo courtesy of the Mat-Su Borough)
The Sockeye Fire which devastated Willow in 2015 (Photo courtesy of the Mat-Su Borough)

Today, Judge David Zwink granted their request from the bench in Palmer. According to attorney Kevin Fitzgerald, who represents Greg Imig, the state has made an offer. But Palmer District Attorney Roman Kalitiak, would not comment on what that offer might be. Kalitiak says he is reluctant to discuss details of the case, but if the state is to resolve it, there would have to be an acceptance of criminal negligence and restitution of the part of the defendants.

Greg Imig and co-defendent Amy DeWitt have been charged with negligence in connection with the fire’s start in Willow on June 14 of last year. The charges against them are misdemeanors. Kalitiak says negotiations typically concern charges and sentencing, but in this case, the question of restitution is important, because of the enormity of the damages.

He said on Friday that “the defense has a good knowledge of what would be acceptable to us [the state]. We are not going to give this case away.”

The next pre-trial hearing is set for June 10 in Palmer, almost a year after the start of the wildfire.

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APTI Reporter-Producer Ellen Lockyer started her radio career in the late 1980s, after a stint at bush Alaska weekly newspapers, the Copper Valley Views and the Cordova Times. When the Exxon Valdez ran aground in Prince William Sound, Valdez Public Radio station KCHU needed a reporter, and Ellen picked up the microphone. Since then, she has literally traveled the length of the state, from Attu to Eagle and from Barrow to Juneau, covering Alaska stories on the ground for the AK show, Alaska News Nightly, the Alaska Morning News and for Anchorage public radio station, KSKA elockyer (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  |  907.550.8446 | About Ellen

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