Jury eyes Homer PD role in shooting

By Naomi Klouda
Homer Tribune

Jason Anderson

Jason Anderson

Attorneys are in the U.S. District Court in Anchorage for the third week, arguing Homer police were not responsible for harm when an infant was shot in an airport arrest gone-wrong nearly seven years ago.
The case involves the shooting of infant “J.A.,” who was caught in the crossfire as police sought to arrest his father, Jason Anderson, at the Homer airport in 2006. At issue is whether the officers share blame in shooting the 2-year-old boy, at the time.
The suspect, a drug trafficker and fugitive from justice, was shot and killed by his own bullet, law enforcement officers have said. He also was responsible for shooting the boy, they have argued.
The case is now before a jury in Anchorage, Cherry Dietzmann, et al., v. the City of Homer and the Homer Police Department. The plaintiffs have just about finished wrapping up their portion, calling on witnesses appearing in person or televised, said Phillip Weidner, the lead attorney for Dietzman.
This week, the defense is calling its witnesses to the seven-year-old case.
Some parts of the case are already decided. U.S. Federal Court issued a $3.5 million settlement to the boy and his mother in July 2011. U.S. District Judge Robert Bryan, in deciding the case on other merits, denied the claims of immunity by the City of Homer, Sgts. David Shealy and William Hutt, and Stacy Luck. They appealed that decision to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and last year lost. It has now landed on a jury to decide.
The case has traveled a long and twisty road. Attorney Weidner, arguing on behalf of Cherry Dietzmann, the boy’s mother, points to evidence it was actually Homer police who shot J.A. Now 9 years old, the boy lives in a medical foster home in Duluth, Minn., and remains deeply disabled, said his aunt, Colleen Murray. He requires 24-hour care.
In early 2006, Jason Anderson was wanted by federal officials on drug trafficking charges. He fled to Alaska and hid on the Kenai Peninsula under an assumed name. Law officials traveled across country and engaged in a lengthy process working with Alaska State Troopers and Homer Police to bring Anderson to justice. At the Homer Airport, in the early morning, Anderson was driving a rented Jeep and had the two children in the back seat. U.S. Marshals, backed by Homer Police, were attempting to arrest Anderson.
According to testimony at the time, Anderson drew his gun as officers approached, and started the shootout.
The injured boy’s sister, six-month old Darla, was not injured in the shooting.
Cherry Dietzmann, et al., v. U.S.A., et al., reached an initial settlement after lengthy litigation with the federal government and the U.S. Marshal Service in July 2011. Originally, the lawsuit was asking for $12 million, but Judge Robert Bryan cut the settlement to $3.5 million. Judge Bryan is presiding over this jury trial as well. Weidner expects it will take about two or three more weeks before the case is handed to the jury.

Background

Photo courtesy of Cherry Dietzmann - J.A. gets a visit from his younger sister, Darla, at her birthday party in September.

Photo courtesy of Cherry Dietzmann - J.A. gets a visit from his younger sister, Darla, at her birthday party in September.

The case outlined how U.S. marshals and Homer police officers, on the evening of March 1, 2006, were pursuing an arrest of Jason Karlo Jacob Anderson, a fugitive wanted on drug trafficking charges. Anderson, also known as Brandon Deitzman, 31, of Duluth, Minn., was wanted for selling methanphetimine and other drugs out of Duluth. He was identified as one of the top most wanted fugitives in Alaska by federal officials.
In testimony gathered at the time, Anderson’s girlfriend, Dietzmann, said she had fled from him days before the shooting. She had described a long history of violence and intimidation at her boyfriend’s hands. With cooperation from U.S. marshals, she was attempting to win her children’s safety at the time of her escape.
U.S. District Judge Robert Bryan issued a 49-page reiteration of the case and conclusions granting or dismissing a variety of claims by the plaintiffs and defendants in November 2010 that allowed the federal lawsuit to move forward.
He stated that “there is evidence from which a jury could conclude that the Homer officers acted with reckless indifference to the children’s interest.”
The judge added that any punitive claims against the city should be dismissed, however. He also found that any claims against Chief Mark Robl and Sgt. Lary Kuhns should be dismissed. Kuhns had not fired any shots. Officers William Hutt, Dave Shealy and Stacy Luck had each fired shots into the vehicle.
The children’s mother, Dietzmann, was not present during the shooting. She had cooperated with officials as they sought to apprehend Anderson. She told the officers she had tried numerous times to leave Anderson, but he had prevented her from doing so. She had become involved with him three years earlier at the age of 16. He had harmed her on several occasions, including burning and beating her, she told the officers. He had several prior convictions for armed kidnapping, assault and domestic violence.

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Posted by on Feb 20th, 2013 and filed under Headline News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

24 Responses for “Jury eyes Homer PD role in shooting”

  1. Jeanette Ramberg says:

    Anyone who knows these three officers, knows they are very decent men who would not have acted recklessly without regard to children’s lives.
    This scum bag should have still been sitting behind bars for all his previous very serious convictions. The judges and parole board that let him out on the streets to terrorize more victims and continue his criminal behavior….those are the ones who should be on trial for not doing their jobs! The mother gets 3.5 million taxpayers dollars….instead of 3.5 years for child endangerment for allowing her babies to be in this environment?
    This is what chest beating lawyers have done to our so called judicial system.
    Prison reform is another big waste of taxpayers dollars, obviously.

    • Kimberly says:

      Last month Cherry scrubbed her Facebook page, certainly at her lawyers prompt. Before she did she posted often. Cherry offered the van givento her to transport little Jason to her friends for a party vehicle. Cherry rarely visited her son and when she was in the area he lives in she posted her drunken get together with pals. Cherry had herself a wife for a few months then hooked up with some military guy who dumped her after discovering her past which she went on a rampage against. Cherry posted often from the bar she worked at about hook ups, illegal activity and her constantly being pulled over by local authorities for deviant behavior. From the moment she learned of her son’s injuries she thought only of a payday. The day after he was shot she was partying in Anchorage and during his stay at The Children’s Hospital in Anchorage worse than abandoning her boy she created chaos with her attorney trying to get public sympathy she distracted doctors trying to sneak in media to capture his pain. The picture often used of Cherry kissing the child while he was in therapy was commented on by the care faccility in Minn. as nothing but a staged meeting fir her lawsuit since she was hardly ever with him. With the tens of thousandths she won from the federal payout Cherry could have moved to be with her sonn, instead she squandered it on booze, men and other wortless things. Her pictures on Facebook showed her two other children living with her in squaller. If a jury gives her any more money with the friends she has you will be reading about her again very soon in the obituary column. For the girl and Jason jr, if they get a reward from this lawsuit the funds should be put in a trust where none of the so called family, especially the aunt commenting in the article has access to.

      • danni says:

        Kimberly! You have zero clue of what cherry as a mother has had to face , before &after this tragic incident.honestly you have zero write posting your non true facts on a public website. Cherry is doing the best she can and who are you to judge stalk or insult because facebook defines a persons character? Seriously, I hope you closet is clean …..before you go assuming facts and publicly publishing them.

      • allison duluth mn says:

        S I was one to be next to cherry from the moment she got back to Duluth. After finding out what happened in Alaska :( I was with her at baby jasons therapy, emergency surgeries, hospitalisation ,and his medical care provided foster home. Wich in Jason jr situation is the best place for him to be because of the recklessness of a fly by the seat of your pants operation get the bad guy……!! He is closer to better hospitals and in his condition at times he needs to be put into emergency surgery :( I understand why cherry lives in northern MN because of the harsh things people like you say!! Cherry loves all her children! She is a devoted mom to all her children! Easy to say hateful thing’s when your on the outside looking in Kim!! Face Book is only a short version of our lives. Wonder if you have children? Ever hold on to one and here i love you said and the next day be on your knees in a hospital chapel praying for their life? Obviously not! Ever buried a child? Obviously not! My baby died in my belly at 9 months and i had to pick him up in a bag from the cremation society and the months after his death my actions and behavior were insane ! From that loss ended up in the mental word in the hospital via police dept. So who are you to judge anothers action and behavior after a tragedy with

        • allison duluth mn says:

          One of your children! There is one and only judge God! Police are sopose to serve and protect ! They forgot that 7 years ago when a little boy was just going for a ride with his daddy . Small town police dont make good for situations like this. Obviously the u.s. Marshalls new they were at some form of fault when they settled in court. Not judging the police officers as bad people. Just made bad decisions by not going about Jason’s arrest in a different way. Am I a bad person for having another baby and trying to move on with life? Yep can say Jason was a bad man i knew him. Scary and unpredictable but he loved his children and would have never! Ever hurt them! The evidence is scare on baby Jason’s face of who shot a bullet that for ever changed many lives!! Cherry does the best job as a mom that she can. And God didn’t make perfect people Kim! Not even you!!

      • Cheryl Overfors says:

        I am not sure who you are or even why you would say such awful lies about a young woman who has been through so much, you most certainly have ulterior motives.Everything you are saying is a bold face lie and you need to be prosecuted for slander and deception. I know Cherry very well as I do her children, I am like a mother to her and like a grandparent to her children and it breaks my heart that a person who obviously knows nothing about her would stoop to this level. I know for a fact that Cherry did not offer Jason’s van to anyone ever, except Sue who needs it to transport him, I would love to know which “Care facility” in MN said her kissing her son was staged, really? Have you spent time with Cherry and Jason and the other kids? You are absolutely crazy! As for scrubbing her facebook,, again are you nuts? She posts often and still does, she has no computer right now and must use her phone for now. How petty and untruthful can you be? I have been to her home hundreds of times and have never seen this squaller that you speak of, also if you knew her you would know she is not a drunk, just because someone works in a bar does not mean they drink all of the time. As for moving closer to Jason, how do you do that when the jobs are not here, she certainly could not live off that money forever. I feel that you are nothing but a trouble maker trying to make a name for yourself, I suggest you get your stories straight before you find yourself being sued. Cherry was not the one who created this problem, she is as innocent as her injured son and Darla.Cherry is providing for Darla and Riley and I was at her home again this week and she is providing a very nice home full of love, food, toys, etc. Also she keeps her home in very nice condition, I stop by unannounced all the time and have never even seen a mess. If you want to see the real truth about Cherry Dietzmann why not talk to those of us who really know her or better yet go to my facebook page and look at all of the pictures of her and her children, including Jason! You will see the truth ! Go ahead and check me out if you feel the need, I am a 58 year old Mother, wife and Grandmother without a criminal record as you say all of Cherry’s friends are drunks and losers. I have been a foster mom for years and I am very willing to testify on behalf of Cherry, she has been through enough without the added stress of a hateful person like you! At the end of the day these lies will not help anyone, even yourself or this case. The truth will prevail and the truth is that Cherry Dietzman was not responsible for this terrible tragic incident, she is a victim. First a victim at the hands of Jason Anderson and now a victim of the so called people who are supposed to be there to protect her and her children not make matters worse. After this trial is over Jason is still going to be in the same situation. Where is this record of her being a drug addict or drug dealer? Yup that is what I thought, there is none because she isn’t the horrible person you want to make her out to be. I am so angered by the nasty lies and cannot wrap my mind around why you or anyone else would say these terrible things unless there is some financial gain for you personally. How you sleep at night is beyond me, It is not normal to go through life lying and trying to destroy other people, How sad for you that you have to stoop to that level of sickness!

      • Lana Murray says:

        You LADY DO NOT KNOW What you are talking about and NEED to stop your STUPID RAMBLINGS!!!! This is CHERRY ‘s MOTHER! and I DO NOT APPRECIATE you talking like this about MY DAUGHTER! I pray TO GOD THE truth will eventually COME OUT!!!!!! WE NEED TO REMEMBER THERE ARE 3 INNOCENT BEAUTIFUL BABIES THAT DO NOT HAVE THEIR FATHER. I STRONGLY RECOMMEND YOU LEARN ALL THE FACTS BEFORE YOU GO SPEWING OFF YOUR MOUTH!!!!!!!!!!

      • Aunt says:

        Well were to begin .Cherry has not taken care of her kids alot .they were at my house her mothers ,brothers and some other people, that think they know every thing ,So tell what realy went on .

      • Aunt says:

        Sorry KIm , Homer News asked about Jason .So I told them .But as for Cherry i dont even talk to her .I just want the kids to get the money .Cherry hurt some people realy bad .

        • Cheryl Overfors says:

          Wow really? Cherry has her kids! She has had to have some help from time to time and I think if we are all honest here we have all needed a hand on occasion. She is providing a very nice safe home for her children. Not sure what your agenda is Colleen, but The truth will prevail, it always does.

      • Heather says:

        Kimberly have you herd of slander? DO you know when you write or make statements about people that are UNTRUE YOU are committing a CRIME? WHERE IS YOUR PROOF THAT THESE ARE TRUE FACTS?

        I HAVE KNOWN CHERRY FOR YEARS AS WELL AS HER FAMILY AND FRIENDS !!

        SO KIMBERLY LETS GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT!!!!

        CHERRY IS A DEDICATED MOTHER SHE CARES MORE FOR HER CHILDREN THEN MOST MOTHERS!!!
        CHERRY DOES ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING SHE CAN FOR HER CHILDREN!
        CHERRY WORKED WITH AUTHORITY’S TO GET HER CHILDREN BACK FROM A MAN WHO KIDNAPPED THEM!

        KIMBERLY DO YOU MEAN TO TELL ME IF A MAN WITH A GUN TOOK YOUR CHILDREN AND FLED AND YOU CONTACTED AUTHORITY’S… I SHOULD SAY YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE???? ITS YOUR FAULT?????
        WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH YOU PICKING ON A WOMEN WHO HAS ALREADY BEEN THREW SO MUCH!!! ARE YOU PURE EVIL ??? YOU MUST NOT BELIEVE IN HEAVEN OR GOD BECAUSE ALL THE ACCUSATIONS YOU HAVE SAID ARE SO FAR FROM THE TRUTH AND YOU KNOW YOU ARE LYING.. WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH YOU????? YOU MUST BE THE DEVIL OR A COMPULSIVE LAIR.. YOU REALLY SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF YOURSELF !!

        CHERRY DIETZMANN HAS ALWAYS BEEN THERE FOR HER CHILDREN!!! CHERRY GIVES HER BEST CARE AND HAS GONE ABOVE AND BEYOND TO GET HELP WITH CARE FOR HER SON BABY JASON AND HE IS CARED FOR BY THE BEST OUT THERE..
        CHERRY TAKES THE BEST CARE OF HER OTHER TWO CHILDREN AS WELL THEY ARE WONDERFUL CHILDREN WHO ARE VERY WELL BEHAVED AND EXTREMELY SMART !!!

        CHERRY DIETZMANN IS ONE OF THE MOST HONEST, CARING MOTHERS OUT THERE. WITH EVERYTHING SHE HAS BEEN THREW I CAN HONESTLY SAY SHE IS ONE OF THE STRONGEST WOMEN I KNOW!!

        THESE ARE THE TRUE FACTS ABOUT CHERRY DIETZMANN !!

        • Heather says:

          OH BY THE WAY I AM THE TRUE BRANDON CARL DIETZMANN’S GIRLFRIEND HE IS CHERRYS OLDER BROTHER AGE 28 AND A VERY CARING AND KIND PERSON

    • Cheryl Overfors says:

      How you can say Cherry Dietzmann “allowed” her children to be in this situation is absurd, no mother would allow that, Fortunately for you you have obviously never been the victim of domestic abuse and never had to learn how to survive it! Cherry was stuck in that situation at the hands of Jason Anderson. She was very young and vulnerable and was still able to finally escape him, what failed here was law enforcement! They should have waited for another time to arrest Jason, not when the children were involved. They were so zealous about his capture that they became careless. I understand he was a nasty man but Cherry and the kids are the ones suffering now.

      • DP says:

        Cheryl, well let’s see, I would not have allowed my kids to be with a father who constantly threatened to kill them. Living in a world of JA pushing large amounts of drugs and being a very violent man would make me want to protect my kids from the life style and danger that brings. Had Cherry wanted to protect them from that, those kids would have never been with him that night. Or better yet JA could have given up!! What a concept???

  2. foreign_observer says:

    Regardless of other circumstances, officers firing into the vehicle and endangering the child is reckless behavior. That is or should be the focus here. A different scenario might have been a SWAT sniper, qualified to take this type of shot. Even better would have been to wait until a better opportunity presented itself, in regards to capturing this creep. Now the consequences are what remains.

    • Jeanette Ramberg says:

      I don’t know all the facts, as I was not there. I just hope that all the true facts are presented in court without semantics. I understood that he opened fire on the police officers and planned not to be taken alive, and that he was the one who shot his children before shooting himself, and that officers did not know children were with him. I don’t think the airport was a good choice for location of confrontation, again don’t know all reasoning behind that tactic. I think his intention was to use his children as a shield. I’m glad he killed himself, and very sorry for the innocent children that were so traumatically affected by his actions.

  3. DP says:

    Ms. Klouda, do your homework, it happened in the evening. Have you been sitting in the courtroom getting some facts on the case against the City of Homer other than what you read in the filings? Or are you trying to sell some papers like Tom Kizzia shortly after the incident. If you have been following the case you would not be putting blame on any of the officers involved, but that will be determined by the jury. Quite frankly, this whole mess could have been prevented by either JA or the mother that allowed it all to play out. Walk into the court room and get some facts.

    • Cheryl Overfors says:

      You need to do your homework! Cherry Dietzman never allowed her son to be shot! She told the officers her children were in that vehicle, how you can lay the blame on her is beyond comprehension!

      • DP says:

        She may have told the Marshall’s but the department she is suing for more money did not! And did you know that it is thought that JA was the one that shot that child!

  4. danni says:

    How can anyone attack a mother with a sick child ? Since when does facebook define us seriously facebook that is the best trash talk people can come up with. I think trash talking a mother right or wrong defines your character more then cherry’s. Ive know her many year before and after this tragic incident. How dare anyone of you point fingers with untrue facts on a public site. I bet the town your defending is proud you have level with trash talking stalking and negatively judging a sick child. I hope your hands facebook closet and conscience are as clean as you act . Bottom line Kimberly your two cents is just that worth pennies in the big picture of the world. Find a hobby instead of facebook stalking agood person.

  5. Sarah Colarich says:

    I am aware of the case and know the mother Cherry. She is a wonderful woman and a great mother. What I have a hard time understanding is the 3.5 million settlement that was apparently reached….She works her bum off and never got any of this so called settlement. And had she, as you claim, wouldn’t that be assuming guilt on someone’s behalf?

  6. amy says:

    I too know Cherry, she was my dads neighbor & he often commented bout how good of a mother she was. He’s a stubborn 70 yr old who is very open about his feeling & has had nothing but compliments about how good she was to her kids, taking them to play, the interaction, etc….I do not know all of the facts of the case, mainly I find it outrageous for anyone to point fingers @ Cherry. Who are you to judge? She didn’t ask to be abused or afraid, she never imagined her kids would be put in danger! Yes, she works in a bar…I am waitress. Does that make her any less of a person? She works to provide for her family…should she quit her job and live off of the system? At least she works! Maybe you need to open your eyes and quit running your mouth, you state your comments as facts…however, you have nothing to back it up, its all speculation. Maybe instead of trying to drag Cherry(a victim also) through the mud, you should think, put yourself in her shoes!

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