Trial in Cavaness Killing Underway

Jacob Resneck/KMXT

The murder trial for the killing of 41-year-old Darrell Cavaness of Kodiak got underway yesterday with attorneys on both sides giving opening statements and jurors hearing testimony from two separate witnesses.

The 14 jurors will resume hearing testimony from the second witness today.

Thirty-one-year-old Chawn D. Summerall stands accused of killing Cavaness on January 22, 2008. He faces a charge of second-degree murder in the beating death of the Kodiak man who was found unconscious in a house on Natalia Way. Cavaness died a week later in an Anchorage hospital from head injuries.

Summerall had been indicted in June but that was dismissed by the judge who ruled that the evidence presented to the grand jury had relied on hearsay evidence. The judge also said that grand jurors hadn’t been informed that Summerall had also been struck by the same piece of wood that’s suspected to have been used as the murder weapon.

Also accused is 31-year-old Joshua Erickson whose alleged statements to police have been used as evidence against Summerall. Erickson was indicted separately and is not scheduled to go to trial until March.

Assistant Attorney General June Stein is prosecuting the case in Kodiak Superior Court. Judge Fred Torrisi is presiding.

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