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Man Accused Of Killing 2 Alaska Troopers Pleads Not Guilty

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Nathanial Kangas, 20, has pleaded not guilty for the May deaths of Alaska State Troopers Gabe Rich and Scott Johnson. | KTUU
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) — A 20-year-old man charged with killing two Alaska State Troopers by shooting them in the back has entered not guilty pleas and wants his trial moved.

Nathanial Kangas, 20, entered the pleas to six felony counts, including first- and second-degree murder, during a court hearing Tuesday in Fairbanks.

Kangas is charged in the May 1 shooting deaths of Sgt. Scott Johnson and Trooper Gabe Rich in Tanana.

Johnson and Rich had flown to Tanana, 130 miles west of Fairbanks, to arrest Kangas' father, Arvin, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported (http://is.gd/n61DF4). A village public safety officer had reported that Arvin Kangas had driven without a license and pointed a rifle at him.

Johnson and Rich contacted Arvin Kangas, and as he tried to go into his home, they struggled. Nathanial Kangas emerged with an assault rifle and fired seven shots into the backs of the troopers, according to investigators.

Kangas' attorney, assistant public defender Jesse Mickels, is seeking a summer trial and wants proceedings moved from Fairbanks to Nenana, which is the closest district courthouse to the village of Tanana.

Mickels also wants Judge Bethany Harbison to revise a court order banning Kangas from speaking with his mother, who is a witness in the case.

He also is seeking a reduction in the $4 million bail set for his client. A hearing on that matter was set for Friday.

Also on Tuesday, Kangas' father was arraigned on evidence tampering and hindering prosecution charges. Arvin Kangas, 58, pleaded not guilty to both counts.

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Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, http://www.newsminer.com

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