Lawyers give final arguments in Yakutat cold case

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by Your Alaska Link News Team

A jury in Juneau has begun deliberations in the murder trial of a 53-year-old Montana man who fatally shot his girlfriend in 1996 in the southeast Alaska community of Yakutat.

Robert Kowalski claims his shotgun fired accidently and killed 39-year-old Sandra Perry.

Kowalski in 2009 was convicted in Montana of criminally negligent homicide in the shooting death of another girlfriend. Kowalski claimed that also was an accident.

In the Alaska case, Kowalski claims they heard a bear outside their room at a Yakutat lodge and that he went to the window to investigate. He says he tripped as he walked back, fell onto Perry on the bed, and as he got up, the gun went off.

Prosecutor James Fayette says Kowalski's story is "ridiculous" and should not be believed.