While family and friends of a man beaten to death outside a downtown Anchorage bar prepared for a Tuesday afternoon memorial service, the suspect’s mother called for her son to turn himself in to police.
Kenneth Moto, 39, is charged with manslaughter and first-degree assault for allegedly attacking three people outside the Panhandler Bar on April 19 – including 36-year-old Daniel Stewart, Jr., who died in a hospital three days after being assaulted.
Moto's mother, Marlene, spoke with KTUU by phone from the family home in Deering, an Arctic village on the Seward Peninsula composed of a hundred-plus residents.
“Babe, please turn yourself in and honestly give your side of the story,” said Marlene Moto, mother of 39-year-old Kenneth Moto. “Don’t hold back the truth.”
Anchorage Police Department detectives are still trying to figure out what exactly happened, but an officer who was flagged down by a passerby on April 19 wrote in charging documents that he found Stewart "out of it" on a sidewalk in front of the downtown bar.
Stewart struggled to speak and could not sit up without losing his balance. He was badly injured.
A woman nearby on the sidewalk, 27-year-old Lavon Kittick, was also seriously injured. So was an unidentified man, listed in charging documents as John Doe.
The two identified victims were transported to a hospital, where Kittick received facial surgery and had her jaw wired shut and where Stewart died three days later.
Since Monday police have been turning to the public for help finding Moto, who has a lengthy criminal record. APD is also seeking anyone with information about the incident.
Tips can be provided to police by calling 907-786-8900 or anonymously by calling Crime Stoppers at 907-561-STOP.
A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Tuesday for Stewart at the North Anchorage Church of God, and a friend said those close to Stewart said they are still shocked.
"It tore us up a lot," said Chris Andrus. "He was such a good guy. He did not deserve what happened to him, and it's been pretty rough."
Moto's mother said she is mourning along with those close to the victim.
"To the family, the family and friends of the lost, I'm sorry for what happened and ask for forgiveness," she said.