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Wednesday, July 14, 2004


Coroner set inquest date

Algiers shooting investigation rescheduled for August

Express Staff Writer

A coroner’s inquest announced last month by the county prosecutor and the county sheriff to look into the police shooting death of a Ketchum resident has been continued until Aug. 3 and Sept. 1 and 2.

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 Sheriff’s Office determined the shooting death of Tom Algiers by Blaine County Deputy Curtis Miller was justifiable homicide, said Blaine County Sheriff Walt Femling when he 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, along the Big Wood River west of Ketchum.

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 multiple times in the head with a machete before police shot him.

Rosenthal, already prosecuting Hunt’s 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.

"We will ask a jury to make a decision about what took place," Sonnenberg said. "It gives county citizens assurance everything is brought out into the public eye. If (the shooting) was homicide the jury will make a decision if it was justifiable or not. There is no way in an inquest any verdict can be ramrodded through."

The new date set was the soonest Sonnenberg and others could meet, Femling said.

A preliminary hearing for Hunt has been continued for a third time until Aug. 3.


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