A Kenai grand jury has indicted the accused shooter in a double homicide earlier this month. Joseph Chandler, Jr., had already been charged with two counts of first degree murder. The grand jury added four additional charges for second degree murder.
The charges all stem from the April 15 deaths of Dustin Marx, 27, and Michael White, 40, who were shot to death in a van at a house on Nash Road, outside the city limits. The additional murder charges reflect not additional killings, but alternative theories of the crime.
Alaska’s crime statutes, like those in other states, distinguish between more and less severe versions of the same crime. The grand jury decided there was enough evidence to charge Chandler under several provisions, resulting in one count of first degree murder and two counts of second degree murder for each death.
In Alaska, someone commits first degree murder if he intends to and subsequently kills someone. Second degree murder is the somewhat lesser crime of killing someone either with the “intent to cause serious physical injury” or “under circumstances manifesting an extreme indifference to the value of a human life.”