Ketchikan resident Joel Kotrc pleaded not guilty Monday in Ketchikan Superior Court to multiple felony drug charges, and asked for a public defender to represent him.
The 48-year-old Kotrc was indicted April 3rd by a grand jury on four counts, three for alleged possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute; and one for allegedly maintaining a residence for the purpose of distributing drugs. Monday was his first court appearance in the matter.
Kotrc, who is recovering from an illness, moved slowly with the help of a cane. When asked how he wanted to plead, Kotrc seemed hesitant, but then said he probably should plead not guilty because he wants to talk to an attorney about the case.
He did not have an attorney yet. In response to questions from Superior Court Judge William Carey, Kotrc admitted that he hasn’t worked since December. Carey agreed to appoint the public defender to the case.
Carey also allowed Kotrc to remain free on his own recognizance, which means no bail money will be required. However, Kotrc is not allowed to leave town without permission. He also is not allowed to contact co-defendants in the case.
The charges against Kotrc are related to the arrest in late February of a Washington State man who allegedly brought 7 ounces of methamphetamine to Ketchikan on the ferry from Bellingham.
The next hearing in the case is set for 2:30 p.m. April 28 in Ketchikan Superior Court. A trial is tentatively scheduled for June 16.