City, Police Named in Suit over Memo

    Brent Turvey, who investigated the 1996 murder of a Sitka teenager, is suing the city, the Police Department and Lt. Barry Allen over a memo Allen wrote last October that says Turvey was not an investigator at the Sitka Police Department.
    Turvey says in the complaint he filed Friday in Sitka Superior Court that the memo contained false information that damaged his reputation.
    He is asking for $275,000 in damages, a list of all agencies and people who received the memo, an apology and a correction that attests he was “formerly engaged by the Sitka Police Department as a sworn investigator with law enforcement credentials.”
    The subject line of the Allen memo was: “Mr. Brent Turvey was not an investigator at the Sitka Police Department,” and the document states, “Mr. Turvey was never sworn in as an investigator or an officer for the Sitka Police Department.”
    Allen’s memo was produced by the prosecutor in a murder trial in January  in Lexington, Ky., where the defense had retained Turvey to provide forensic services for the defendant.
    In his lawsuit Turvey says the “production of Lt. Allen’s memo by opposing counsel in a recent criminal trial outside the state of Alaska resulted in allegations of perjury against the plaintiff and threat of arrest for the same. Plaintiff was not arrested and allegations of perjury were stayed, however, when the documentation provided with this complaint was produced at court.”
    Turvey said the production of the Allen memo led to the defense counsel’s decision to withhold Turvey’s testimony from the jury, depriving the defendant, Donald Southworth, of his only expert witness. “The defendant was subsequently convicted of murder,” Turvey said in his complaint.
    Turvey, who lives in Sitka, said in his lawsuit he is a forensic scientist in private practice and the author and co-author of a number of investigative and forensic textbooks with attorney and law enforcement colleagues.
    Turvey and a former New York City police detective, John Baeza, came to Sitka in 2000 to investigate the murder of Jessica Baggen, 17, with their fees paid for by her father, George Baggen. Previously, a suspect had been tried and acquitted in that case. No one else has ever been charged.
    Turvey said he and Baeza worked directly for the police department, headed at the time by Chief Bill McLendon, “as sworn investigators with special police commissions.”
    This is the second time Turvey has sued the city for defamation. In 2002, he filed a lawsuit against the city, but a jury ruled against him at trial. Turvey withdrew his motion for a new trial and the city dropped its claim for $70,000 in attorney fees.

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Alaska COVID-19 
At a Glance

(updated 10-26-21)

By Sentinel Staff

The state Department of Health and Social Services has posted the following update on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alaska as of 10:02 a.m. Tuesday.

New cases as of Monday: 749

Total statewide – 130,482

Total (cumulative) deaths – 688

Total (cumulative) hospitalizations – 2,749

To visit the Alaska DHSS Corona Response dashboard website click here.

COVID in Sitka

The COVID alert rate for Sitka is “high,” based on 30 new resident COVID cases in the past 7 days, a rate of 351.99 per 100,000 population. Alert status will be high until the rate per thousand is below 100. Case statistics are as of Sunday.

New cases in Sitka – 4 

Cases in last 7 days – 30

Cumulative Sitka cases – 1,088

Cumulative non-resident cases – 102

Unique positive cumulative test results in Sitka, as of 10/22/21 – 1,210

Deceased (cumulative) – 5

The local case data are from the City of Sitka website.

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20 YEARS AGO
October 2001

Bart Meyer earned first place in the Sitka Sportsman’s Association’s annual Alaska Day Biathlon. He was followed by Jeremy McLaughlin, Paul Lashway, Greg Horton and Jack Ozment.

50 YEARS AGO
October 1971

The Alaska Day parade was one of the longest ... Alaska Airlines’float with a giant golden samovar and the New Archangel Dancers aboard won first place; the Sitka High band and drill team won second; the Pioneer Bar float won third, and honorable mentions went to the Coast Guard float and Mt. Edgecumbe High band.

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