Murder and Mystery in the Last Frontier

Alaska is a land of mystery, danger, stunning beauty, and valuable resources. Over the decades, fortune seekers have been drawn to Alaska in search of gold, oil, fish, and crab. These fortune seekers are usually young men with little to lose and big dreams of becoming rich. Throughout Alaska’s history, a wave of crime has followed each economic boom, and in my podcast, I will tell you these stories of crime while I share a little about the rich cultural history and geography of this complex state I call home.


A Bloody Anchorage Night

It took a horrible murder for Alaska to revise its statutes for the criminally insane from some of the most lenient sentencing laws in the country to the strictest laws in the U.S. for the insanity defense.

On the night of May 3, 1982, one veteran Anchorage police officer was quoted as saying, “This has got to be one of the grisliest nights I’ve ever seen.” Within an hour, seven people lost their lives. Three died in the Black Bull bar in the Muldoon section of Anchorage, and the other four were shot in Russian Jack Springs Park in East Anchorage. At first, investigators wondered if the two crime scenes were connected, but they soon learned nothing linked the two horrific events.

Russian Jack Springs Park


Russsian Jack Sources

Ice Cold Killers Season Two, Episode One: Blood Red Sun.

Brennan, Tom. 2001. By Reason of Insanity. Murder at 40 Below. Epicenter Press.

Murderpedia, Charles L. Meach III. Available at

New York Times (1982), New Law on Insanity Plea Stirs Dispute in Alaska. Available at


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Robin Barefield is the author of four Alaska wilderness mystery novels, Big Game, Murder Over Kodiak, The Fisherman’s Daughter, and Karluk Bones. Sign up to subscribe to her free, monthly newsletter on true murder and mystery in Alaska.


 2020-09-09  21m