Bart Dickinson Killed Over Busted Windshield

February 1982 BIG LAKE — Big Lake residents have started a legal defense fund for a 19-year-old neighbor accused of murdering another young man. Keith Mux [pseudonym] turned himself in to Alaska State Troopers following the shooting of two teenagers on Feb. 27. Killed was Bart Dickinson, 17. Mike Medgar, 18, was wounded and hospitalized, but has been released.

Troopers said the shooting apparently occurred after some sort of a fight at a farewell party for Mux. A broken windshield on Mux’s pickup apparently sparked the incident. Mux remains in jail in lieu of $150,000 bond. Superior Court Judge Ralph Moody said he ordered a psychiatric evaluation to determine if Mux poses a threat to others, before he would consider reducing the bail.

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Friends said several hundred dollars already have been deposited in the National Bank of Alaska of Wasilla on Mux’s behalf. The fund “is not to condone what he may have done or to say that he is not guilty,” one said. “It’s more the financial support of a friend.”

“There’s a good deal of respect for Keith,” another told the Anchorage Times. “He’s kind of thought of as being the all-American boy out here.” But residents also acknowledged that those sentiments aren’t shared universally in the rural community about 50 miles north of Anchorage. Mux was reported to have no previous criminal record, and was described by friends and employers as reliable, honest and a good worker.

Big Lake Airport, Big Lake AK (courtesy Dietmar Schreiber)

August 2, 1982
Daily Sitka Sentinel
Slaying PALMER (AP) — A 19-year-old Palmer youth was convicted Friday of first-degree murder for shooting to death another teenager at an airstrip at Big Lake last winter. Keith Mux also was convicted of attempted first-degree murder for wounding 18-year-old Mike Medgard with a volley of fire from a .22-caliber semiautomatic rifle. Killed was 17-year-old Bart Dickinson.

Mux did not deny shooting the two, but said he was drunk and frightened and did not kill them intentionally. But after two days of deliberations, the nine-woman, three-man jury decided that Dickinson’s murder and the assault were premeditated. In his closing arguments Thursday, Assistant District Attorney Mike White told the jury a second-degree or manslaughter verdict would be “an easier thing to do, but not the proper thing to do.”

January 21, 1985
Daily Sitka Sentinel
ANCHORAGE (AP) — The Alaska Court of Appeals on Friday struck down an appeal of a Big Lake man’s convictions for murder and attempted murder, but the panel said a lower court judge gave him too long a jail sentence. Keith Mux was convicted for shooting two uninvited guests at a party he threw in February 1982 in Big Lake. Mux, then 19, was sentenced to 20 years in jail for the first-degree murder of Bart Dickinson. He was sentenced to 10 years for the attempted murder of Michael Medgard.

Big Lake Airport, AK Map (courtesy Mat-Su Planning)

Mux’s lawyer challenged the convictions, arguing that the judge excluded relevant evidence and failed to instruct the jury on rules for crimes committed in the heat of passion, for self-defense and in defense of others. The appeals panel rejected those claims but gave Mux a break his lawyer did not request.

The panel said Superior Court Judge Seaborn J. Buckalew apparently assumed that mandatory sentences for repeat offenders required a minimum 10-year sentence for the attempted murder conviction. But the appeals panel said Mux should not have been considered a repeat offender because his murder conviction arose from the same episode as the attempted murder conviction.

The minimum sentence for a first-time offender is six years. The appeals panel rejected the 10-year sentence for attempted murder and returned the matter of sentencing to Superior Court for further consideration.

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