On cross-examination, defense attorney Weidner attacked Stogsdill’s contention that Peel had never denied committing the murders. Could drug allegations and finger pointing be far behind? But Weidner stayed on target. Quoting directly from the transcript of Peel’s March 1984 interview at the Bellingham Police Department, he repeated some of the statements John Peel made during his fraught confrontation with Glenn Flothe and Daryl Galyan.
“If you were in my shoes, innocent, what would you do?” “I think you’re nuts, man.” “I can’t believe you guys think I did it, man.” “You guys are on the wrong track. I think you’re trying to end this case because it’s taking so much fucking time.” “So you expect me to say I feel sorry for something I didn’t do?” “I just can’t believe this, you people are wrong.”
“Are there some magic words that you consider a denial?” Weidner asked, sarcastically.
Stogsdill responded that he considered statements such as, “I didn’t kill Mark Coulthurst or anyone on the Investor,” or “I didn’t do it” to be “good denials.” But, he conceded that several of Peel’s statements “arguably could be a denial.”
The defense attorney spent the next day on a foray into the murky waters of drugs and drug dealing. He again charged that troopers didn’t thoroughly investigate reports that Mark Coulthurst and Dean Moon were involved in drug trafficking. He asked Stogsdill to answer allegations that Moon had “ripped someone off for $20,000 to $30,000 in cocaine money,” had stolen marijuana plants from a grow and could put together deals for “any kind of drugs.”
“We checked that story out,” Stogsdill replied. The guy who made the allegation was six years older than Moon, even though he claimed to be a high school buddy. And no local authorities, including the Mounties, had discovered any link between Dean Moon and drugs. The man’s allegations, Stogsdill said, “appeared to be an isolated incident.”
Excerpts from the unpublished original manuscript, “Sailor Take Warning,” by Leland E. Hale. That manuscript, started in 1992 and based on court records from the Alaska State Archive, served as the basis for “What Happened in Craig.”
Copyright Leland E. Hale (2020). All rights reserved.