Feds will not seek death penalty for two men accused in fellow gang member's murder
Accused in a murderous racketeering conspiracy, Filthy Furher, 42, and Beau Cook, 32, will remain in custody without bail. A judge made the decision Friday at the men's arraignments, held at the federal courthouse in downtown Anchorage.
Appearing by video conference on a large screen mounted behind the courtroom jury box, in separate hearings the judge explained the charges and potential penalties to Cook, a large, bearded man, and Fuhrer, also bearded but much slighter in stature.
The most serious counts against them, the kidnapping and murder of gang associate Michael Staton, carry mandatory life sentences. The prosecuting attorney told the court the justice department has chosen not to pursue the death penalty.
There are so many defendants in the investigation, unsealed Wednesday, that defense attorneys from Seattle may have to be assigned to avoid conflicts of interests, said an attorney who appeared as a friend of the court to assist Fuhrer for the hearing.
According to court records for Dustin Clowers, a defendant who's already entered a guilty plea, Cook prepared the room where Staton would receive one of a series of attacks that would ultimately end his life. Cook prepped the beating room "by covering the floor and walls with plastic," states Clowers' plea deal.
Fuhrer, on the other hand, has been identified as one of two leaders of the 1488s who "had ultimate authority in all gang matters," the U.S. Attorney's Office confirmed Friday. The second leader's identity, while known, has not been publicly released.
Cook's multiple prior felonies, drug use, and involvement in the current charges while on release are among the reasons he was denied bail.
Fuhrer, serving time for the attempted murder of an Alaska State Trooper, is technically not eligible for bail -- yet. But because his time served in that case will be over later this year, prosecutors requested an ongoing detention order. Like Cook, Fuhrer, they said, brings a long rap sheet: crimes of violence, repeated instances of failing to appear, assaulting a police officer, escape, and while incarcerated has been disobedient and routinely involved in violent events, and has emerged as a leader of this gang.
Prosecutors said for the safety of the community, law enforcement and witnesses, Fuhrer, who arrived to court wearing a bright orange prison top and red pants -- historically a color code reserved for troublemakers -- needs to remain in custody.