Murder, Alaska podcast Episode 2 – Introduction to The Benolken Murders

In April of 1982 the bodies of James and Ann Benolken were found in their apartment on South Franklin Street in Juneau, Alaska. They had been tied up and brutally stabbed to death.

Two men were subsequently tried for the foul crime: Newton Lambert and Emanuel Telles. Lambert was convicted of the murder of Ann Benolken and Telles was acquitted of both murders and walked free from the court room. Just over a year later, though, Telles was in turn murdered.

We pick up the story somewhere in 2008 or 2009 when I was working at the Public Defender Agency in Juneau as a law office assistant. One day I opened a letter Newton Lambert had sent asking for help looking into his case and I began falling into the rabbit hole of the Benolken murders that day and haven’t stopped.

Please join me for this introductory episode about the Benolken murders where we will set the stage for a future series of episodes centering around the April 1982 double murder case.

Music credits:

Intro music: The Call by Mattia Cupelli

Intermission music: Memphis Slim – I Just Landed In Your Town (public domain)

Outro music: Sergei Rachmaninoff 13 Preludes, Op. 32 – 5. Moderato (G major) performed by Vadim Chaimovich (public domain)

Episode 1 – The Rachelle Waterman case


Rachelle Waterman was a 16 year old high school Junior in Craig, Alaska in November of 2004 when she conspired with two local 24 year old men to kill her mother Lauri Waterman.

This is the first episode of a new podcast series by local Alaskan paralegal Leo Helmar. Please visit for more info and keep checking back for new episodes!

On November 14th, 2004, a hunter found a smoking minivan on a logging road in Craig, a small logging and fishing town in Southeast Alaska, and reported the find to local authorities. Also in the van was a badly burned corpse which would later be identified as Lauri Waterman.

Sgt. Randy McPherron, a renowned homicide investigator for the Alaska State Troopers, was dispatched to Craig and within three days Sgt. McPherron had all three principle conspirators in the murder of Lauri Waterman in custody. They were Rachelle, her 16 year old daughter who had been at a volleyball tournament up North in Anchorage, Alaska, and two 24 year old men with whom Rachelle had had sexual relationships with named Jason Arrant and Brian Radel. The ghoulish details of their crime would become clear in the subsequent murder trials.

This episode goes into further detail about how the crime went down and the fallout in the intervening years. Thanks for listening!