ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A jury convicted Rachelle Waterman of criminally negligent homicide Thursday afternoon, after a week of deliberations. Waterman was 16 years old when she was arrested in 2004 for colluding with two men to kill her mother, Lauri Waterman.
She was found not guilty of Murder 1, Felony murder, kidnapping, burglary and attempted murder.
Jason Arrant and Brian Radel, both 24 at the time of the murder, pleaded guilty to killing Lauri Waterman.
The pair wanted to make the murder look like a drunk-driving crash, but the plan went wrong from the start. They were unable to break Lauri Waterman's neck to make it look like an accident. The men then tried to crush her neck and ultimately suffocated her along a remote road on Prince of Wales Island. In an attempt to cover up the beating, the men burned the body in the family minivan.
Both men testified during the first trial, but had opposite views on Waterman's role in the plan. Arrant gave her up to police, the defense says, to salvage the remainder of his life by negotiating a lighter prison sentence. Radel never talked to Waterman about the plot, and claims Arrant lied to him about Waterman's involvement. Radel says Waterman was purposely kept out of the loop so she couldn't give details to police later.
Waterman told friends she hated her mom for prolonged emotional and physical abuse. Prosecutors believe Waterman lied about the abuse, but used it motivate her boyfriend to protect her from her mother. They say the girl resented her mother's control, portraying Waterman as a teenage drama queen with a desire to kill.