first_imgA Fairbanks jury has begun hearing the case of a Tanana man charged with killing 2 Alaska State Troopers in the interior village. 22-year-old Nathaniel Kangas shot Trooper Gabe Rich and Sargent Scott Johnson while they were trying to arrest his father at the Kangas’ home on May 1st, 2014. During his opening statement on Monday, District Attorney Greg Olson began making the case for first degree murder convictions.Download AudioAlaska State Troopers. (File photo by Monica Gokey, Alaska Public Media – Anchorage)“The evidence is going to show you that tragedy was perpetrated by Nathaniel Kangas, who ambushed and slaughtered those two state troopers as they were trying to do their job,” Olson said.Olson recalled how the Troopers came to the village after Nathaniel Kangas’ father Arvin Kangas, threatened the local village public safety officer. Johnson and Rich were shot while trying to take the uncooperative elder Kangas into custody. Nathaniel Kangas’ attorney Greg Parvin did not dispute what happened, but asserted Kangas’ actions were not premeditated.“He reacted impulsively and he reacted illegally,” Parvin. “Nathaniel will be found guilty, but not of the crimes the state has charged.”Parvin said the state cannot meet the burden of proof for first degree murder. Opening day witnesses called by the state included Nathanial Kangas’ mother Judy Kangas, who recounted finding her son in his bedroom with an automatic rifle, while troopers were trying to arrest his father on the front porch.“I don’t remember if I grabbed the gun or if he put it down,” Kangas’ mother said. “And I told him no.”Kangas took up the rifle again after his mother left the room, shooting the Troopers at close range as they wrestled with his father. Kangas then aimed the gun at longtime Tanana VPSO Mark Haglin.“He was staring me down with just an intense hatred,” said Haglin. “I actually thought ‘I am within a minute of dying’ based on the look in his eye.”Haglin, who said he’s known the Kangas’ for years, was able to talk Nathanial down. Haglin escaped the scene, and while he ran for help, Nathanial and Arvin Kangas went to the tribal office, where employee Judy Ellen Gau testified she witnessed a distraught Nathanial Kangas.“He sat down. He was crying,” Gau said. “He was saying, ‘Oh my God, I shot him.” and then he said ‘Look what the white man made me do.’”Gau said her impression was that Nathaniel Kangas was brainwashed by his father and other local members of an extremist sovereignty group known as the “Athabaskan Nation”. Both Kangas’s were taken into custody without incident. Arvin Kangas was convicted of evidence tampering for moving the fallen Troopers bodies and removing their guns from their holsters. Nathaniel Kangas’s murder’s trial continues Tuesday in Fairbanks Superior Court.last_img

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