Defense working through evidence in Homer murder case

Public defenders are working through discovery in the case of a Homer man accused of murder for the 2013 death of Mark Matthews, then 61, near the Poopdeck Trail in Homer.

Lee John Henry, 55, was indicted by a grand jury on Oct. 20 on one count of first-degree murder, three counts of second-degree murder, one count of manslaughter and one count of first-degree robbery. Homer police arrested him for first-degree murder on Oct. 19 after the department got a tip from an area resident.

During a hearing Monday at the Kenai Courthouse, Henry’s public defender Joy Hobart told Kenai Superior Court Judge Charles Huguelet that defense attorneys have received discovery from District Attorney Scot Leaders but need more time to go through it.

“It’s going to take us a little bit more time than we anticipated,” Hobart said.

Hobart asked to continue the case out by about a month. Huguelet asked when he could realistically set a trial for Henry, which the lawyers said isn’t possible at this point.

“I don’t think we’re really at a point where we can assess when to realistically set trial,” Leaders told Huguelet. “This was a couple-year investigation of a homicide case — there’s a lot involved.”

Leaders said he and Hobart have agreed that the state should hold on to a “substantial amount” of remaining evidence for the time being which he said is not necessary for the defense at this point.

Henry’s next hearing is set for Jan. 31. His new trial call is set for Feb. 21.

Reach Megan Pacer at megan.pacer@peninsulaclarion.com.

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