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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
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Wednesday, July 7, 2004


Coronerís inquest to be set for later date

Express Staff Writer

A coronerís inquest announced last week by the county prosecutor and county sheriff to look into the police shooting death of Ketchum resident Tom Algiers has been continued to a yet unspecified future date.

Parallel investigations into the shooting and a second, related investigation of a Wyoming man being held at the county jail for alleged aggravated battery against Algiers before he was shot May 16, are now both being carried out by Idaho Deputy Attorney General Jay Rosenthal.

A special task force headed by Lt. Randy White of the Minidoka Sheriffís Office determined the shooting death of Algiers by Blaine County Deputy Curtis Miller was justifiable homicide, said Blaine County Sheriff Walt Femling. At the same press conference last week, Femiling and Blaine County Prosecutor Jim Thomas announced plans for the inquest.

According to police, Algiers, 46, was killed shortly before 3 a.m. after police responded to a 911 call made by former Wyoming resident Daniel Hunt, 44, from the River Run Lodge at about 2 a.m.

Hunt told police he was attacked by Algiers, who was later slain by police in an early morning standoff at a campsite south of River Run Lodge and along the Big Wood River

Femling said when Algiers was found in the dense woods along the river, he refused to drop a knife he was carrying. Algiers cornered two county deputies, and Miller shot Algiers twice, the sheriff said. Soon after the events of May 16, Femling turned over the investigation to the task force composed of Southern Idaho law enforcement officers.

Autopsy reports show that Algiers was stuck numerous times in the head with a machete before he was shot by police.

Rosenthal, already prosecuting Huntís aggravated battery charges, was asked to prosecute the Algiers case as "independent counsel," and to help facilitate the legal proceedings surrounding an inquest. The task force report is now in the hands of Ada County Coroner Erwin Sonnenberg, who Thomas and Femling asked to hold the inquest.

Continued just a week after announcing July 8 and 9 as dates for an inquest to be held at the Blaine County Court House, a new date has not yet been set. A preliminary hearing for Hunt has been continued for a third time until Aug. 3.

Femling did not elaborate on why the inquest was postponed and said that Sonnenberg is now taking all questions related to the case. He did say that one reason for the postponement might be that the influx of Allen & Company conferees is filling up all available hotel rooms.

Sonnenberg was unavailable for comment Tuesday.


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