Episode 4: The Benolken Murders, the police investigation and Special Agent Malone

In early April of 1982 James and Ann Benolken were murdered in their apartment in downtown Juneau, Alaska. This podcast recounts the story of the Benolken murders and the two subsequent trials that occurred in the aftermath of the brutal stabbings.

In episode 4 of the Murder, Alaska podcast we examine the Juneau Police investigation and a handful of the police that testified in State of Alaska v. Newton Lambert. We also focus on a liquor store clerk and a bank manager’s testimony at the trial of Newton Lambert. Lambert was one of two co-defendants who were tried for the murders.

Finally we focus on Special Agent Michael Malone of the FBI who was the State’s hair expert at the trial of Newton Lambert. We go over the FBI lab scandal that erupted in the 1990’s as a result of the whistle-blower Dr. Frederic Whitehurst and Malone’s involvement in the subsequent Office of the Inspector General reports detailing the shoddy work at the FBI labs.

Show notes:

3.25.85 Juneau Empire front page articles about the murder of Emanuel Telles by Victor Johnson at the Imperial Cafe:


Juneau Police Department history, 1980-1999:


Great New Yorker article about The Reid Technique (mentioned in this episode in relation to Newton Lambert being interviewed by JPD) and its flaws and how it is being replaced with techniques less likely to elicit false confessions and bad information: 


Rob Warden TEDx talk on False confessions:

The Innocence Project’s page on False Confessions; amazingly one in four DNA exonerations is based in part on a false confession or incriminating statement according to the information gathered by the Innocence Project:

False Confessions or Admissions

Link to 4.19.82 microfiche scan of Juneau Empire article about the Dreamland Bar, which was on the street below the F&L apartments where the murders of the Benolkens occurred, and the pipes having burst the winter before:


The Staircase documentary episode 1 (referenced because of interesting blood spatter evidence in this case):


Youtube video of interview with David Colapinto, general counsel of the National Whistleblower Center, about Special Agent Michael P. Malone and FBI lab corruption: 

2014 follow-up report by the Office of the Inspector General about the review of the FBI labs. This report was referenced by David Colapinto in the video above. The report is “eye-popping” as Colapinto describes it as it revealed that the FBI had re-hired Special Agent Malone after he was discredited as a hair examiner in the original 1996 O.I.G. report. Malone was re-hired to do security clearances for potential FBI hires. This 2014 follow-up report also further details the scope of the corruption at the FBI labs:


2014 New York Post article about 2014 OIG report follow-up regarding Special Agent Malone being re-hired as a private contractor by the FBI to run background checks and further detailing the impact of faulty lab processes: 


Spencer Hsu Washington Post stories about Special Agent Michael Malone and the OIG probe into FBI lab practices:



Music credits:

The score from Double Indemnity by Miklos Rozsa has been altered and sampled.

Midnight Blue by Jack Hylton & His Orchestra has been altered and sampled.

Tangled by Lofi has been altered and sampled.

The score of Call Northside 777 by Alfred Newman has been altered and sampled.

The score of High Noon by Dimitri Tiomkin has been altered and sampled.

Murder, Alaska Podcast: Episode 3: The Benolken Murders (Chapter 2)

Link to downloadable mp3 version of the podcast: https://mega.nz/#!9d5xySKT!-sXriHX7ZtoghB2dC2nMjh-SKlgGTgOSl7Xld0wWsL8

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/leo-helmar/murder-alaska-podcast-episode-3-the-benolken-murders-chapter-2

Act 2 of a series of podcasts on the murders of James and Ann Benolken in Juneau, Alaska in 1982.

This episode picks up with a brief intro explaining what the episode covers. Then we discuss why the Benolken murders still matter at 04:31, forensic sciences and empiricism, and issues involving wrongful convictions and the populations most subject to them.

This episode then touches on who Newton Lambert is as 13:27 and who James and Ann Benolken were. Beginning at 21:00 the early 1980s and 2017 and analyzed in terms of parallels and differences and we take a deeper look into the issues that were relevant 35 years ago and how they compare to current items in the news.

Finally at 30:50 we examine the first three witnesses who testified in the trial of Newton Lambert for the murders of James and Ann Benolken.

~~~~Links and show notes~~~~

7.27.16 column by Jill Burke of ADN.com about 3,800 untested sexual assault kits uncovered in a State of Alaska audit:


“Trial by Fire” by David Grann, 09.07.09 New Yorker:


2.7.17 article by Matt Miller of KTOO about pending decision in Newton Lambert post-conviction relief application:

Appeals Court to issue opinion on possible DNA testing in 35 year old Juneau homicide

Music credits:

“Danse Macabre – Isolated Harp” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

First of the Last by Silent Partner

Dark Hallway (clean) Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

“Reign Supreme” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

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 https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqsGQVl-_k5qGE-PwGKO5DA

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 murderalaska.com 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!