Upton back in jail

Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - 19:00
Albright murder defendant violates probation again

The 25-year-old Eagle River man charged in a 2010 murder case involving his childhood friend is back in jail on a probation violation — his second in six months.

Anchorage police said Kennith “Kenny” Upton, 25, ran afoul of an alcohol ban and then struggled with the police officers who arrested him on Dec. 8.

The arrest marks the latest twist in an increasingly bizarre saga.

A Nov. 27 fire deemed suspicious by investigators destroyed the North Juanita Loop Road house where Upton once lived and where the murder happened. Anchorage fire officials continue to investigate its cause, and that of a nearby blaze that destroyed a motor home on Eleonora Street the same night.

Prosecutors say Upton helped two other men beat to death Harvey “Charlie” Albright back in August 2010. Upton and Albright met at Fire Lake Elementary in the third grade.

All three men were initially charged with murder although Upton and another man ended up with lesser charges. A third man faces trial next month. The men beat Albright because one thought he stole a backpack containing money, drugs and a firearm. Albright died of head injuries received during a pistol-whipping, prosecutors said.

Albright’s family members have said Upton helped pin him down and then cleaned up the mess in the house after the two others dumped Albright’s body.

A plea deal led to Upton’s conviction on destruction of evidence charges in late July. By then, he’d served his two-year sentence and got out of jail. But three weeks later, he violated probation — he drank to the point of intoxication and got into a fight — and returned to jail.

Upton got out last month with new probation condition: no alcohol at all.

Just before 2 a.m. on Dec. 8, an Anchorage police officer discovered Upton staggering down the sidewalk in front of Eagle River’s Alaska USA on the Old Glenn Highway just before 2 a.m., according to a police report synopsis provided by APD spokesman Lt. David Parker.

Upton told the officer he was coming from a bar to get a “beverage” at the Tesoro station. Knowing Upton was on probation with a no-alcohol stipulation from an earlier call, the officer told Upton to stop. He kept walking and cursed at the officer, according to the report.

The officer then held Upton “at guard with a Taser” while he waited for backup. When another officer arrived, Upton got up and walked away, the report said. After Upton ignored repeated instructions to stop, the officers grabbed his arms, dropped him to the ground, and put him in handcuffs.

They put Upton in a patrol car and ended up restricting him in full soft restraints after he started hitting his head against the glass partition in the car, according to the report.

A breath test revealed alcohol in his system. Upton was arrested on charges of violating his probation and resisting arrest. He remained jailed this week.

Upton was arraigned Monday, Dec. 10, in Anchorage. His next court hearing is a pre-trial conference scheduled for Jan. 14.

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