Jury Acquits Mackay Of Murder
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) _ A superior court jury on Sunday acquitted a former Anchorage businessman of first-degree murder in the ambush-slaying of his former brother-in-law.
The verdict came after more than two days of jury deliberations at the end of Neil Mackay’s nine-week trial - his second on the charge.
Mackay was accused of paying Anchorage strip club owner Gilbert Pauole $10,000 to have his former brother-in-law, Robert Pfeil, killed in October 1985. Mackay was living in Hawaii at the time.
Pfeil, an airline pilot, was ambushed at an intersection near his south Anchorage home. He died later of his wounds.
Prosecutors had claimed Mackay and Pfeil were involved in a bitter long- running feud over custody of Mackay’s son, Scotty, after Mackay’s wife died in a still-unsolved car bombing in Anchorage in 1976.
Mackay ″was very thankful the jury found he wasn’t guilty and he just wants to go back to Hawaii and be with his son,″ said defense lawyer James McComas of Milwaukee.
McComas said his client would not talk to the press. ″He’s just so emotional, he’s just not talking,″ the lawyer said.
Prosecutor Harry Davis acknowledged that jurors must not have believed Pauole, the state’s star witness. ″It was a tough case, and they found reasonable doubt. I can’t say much more about it than that,″ Davis said.
Mackay’s first trial ended in a mistrial in April when possibly prejudicial documents were found in the jury’s deliberation room.
Pauole has helped prosecutors put together cases against several people charged after Pfeil’s death. He testified for the state in return for a 20- year sentence for attempted murder.
Three other men have been convicted of first-degree murder for their roles in the killing. A fourth was convicted of stealing the gun used in the slaying.
″I think this was a case in which the investigation from the very beginning focused on the wrong man, and not on evidence but on misconception,″ McComas said.