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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At a Glance

(updated 9-12-2023)

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 8:57 a.m. Tuesday, September 12.

New cases as of Tuesday: 278

Total cases (cumulative) statewide – 301,513

Total (cumulative) deaths – 1,485

Case Rate per 100,000 – 38.14

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

COVID in Sitka

The Sitka community level is now "Low.'' Case statistics are as of Tuesday.

Case Rate/100,000 – 152.50

Cases in last 7 days – 13

Cumulative Sitka cases – 3,575

Deceased (cumulative) – 10

The local case data are from Alaska DHSS.






September 2003

After the season-opening Ketchikan High School swim meet last week, Sitka High swimmer Matt Way is ranked first in the state in the100-meter breaststroke, while Carrington Gorman is ranked second in the 50-meter freestyle.



September 1973

From Around Town: Sitka Historical Society met Sunday at the Centennial Building with the people who had hosted the Historical Room during tour ship visits here. The ladies of the society served a nice Russian Tea from their samovar, and passed around Russian tea cakes.