(Bill Roth/Anchorage Daily News via AP), Connect with the definitive source for global and local news. ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) Alaska teens hoping to cash in on a $9 million offer from a Midwest millionaire brutally killed a developmentally disabled woman on a popular trail outside Anchorage, shooting her in the back of the head and dumping her body in a river, authorities allege. The SD card also contained images of the womans body being removed from a hotel room and transported in a black truck, according to charging documents. 2023 FOX News Network, LLC. Thim declined to say anything about the other investigation, or whether Smith is a suspect in other crimes. According to online court records, no new trial date has been set in the killing of Gertrude Queenie. For many, it was the year the city's violence hit home,even if they didn't personally know any of the victims. The memory card was labeled "homicide at midtown Marriott" and contained 39 images and 12 videos of an assault and murder. TENNESSEE COLLEGE STUDENT ACCUSED OF FATAL SHOOTING IN DORM. Smith was taken into custody on an arrest warrant for first-degree murder Tuesday afternoon at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, police said in an online release announcing the arrest Wednesday. Nearly a week prior, on Sept. 30, someone called Anchorage Policeclaiming to have "an SD card containing a video of a homicide," according to a press release from authorities. Born in Montana but raised in Alaska, Duke married, raised three children and worked jobs including as a teachers aide. ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) Alaska teens hoping to cash in on a $9 million offer from a Midwest millionaire brutally killed a developmentally disabled woman on a popular trail outside Anchorage, shooting her in the back of the head and dumping her body in a river, authorities allege. An Alaska resident found a stray SD card lying on the street in late September and discovered gruesome content inside: images and video of a woman appearing to be assaulted and murdered. This years Iditarod field is the smallest in history. 2022 Anchorage Daily News. On Wednesday,. Skidmore said the number of prosecutors is rebounding following a reduction years earlier and now includes more than 120 attorneys. "We are working on the Ship Creek case still and the Valley of the Moon Park," said Markiewicz. Anchorage's deadly year: With 34 homicide victims, violence hits home 2023 FOX News Network, LLC. Investigators believe the remains along the highway belonged to the woman killed in the videos and they believe Smith killed her in early Septemberand recorded the photos and videos himself. The State Medical Examiner Office is working to confirm her identity and manner of death. An affidavit filed with the criminal complaint against him details a strange chain of events that led police to a trove of gruesome videos and photos. Gov. There has been some suggestion by family members out-of-state that he had recently showed signs of mental illness, McKinnon confirmed, but added, "I don't think we have any concrete evidence to support that.". After Mr. Mackay and the pilot's sister, Muriel . The department is also trying to directly ask the public for help more often. Anchorage police say 8-month-old baby found safe; father arrested on In 2011 and 2012, Ritchie was named to the President's List at Blue Mountain Community College in Weyers Cave, in western Virginia, according to school documents obtained by Alaska Dispatch News. APD officer Arn Salao was wounded and the suspect, James Dale Ritchie, was killed in the early-morning shootout. Suzi Pearson, executive director for the Abused Womens Aid in Crisis shelter in Anchorage, said the decision to split up or leave a relationship can be a particularly dangerous time in the life of a woman experiencing domestic violence. His hair was long. Powered and implemented by FactSet Digital Solutions. Days later, on Oct. 2, police officers found human remains on the side of a highway. Police did not say why the SD card was in the street, but they believe Smith recorded the images himself, according to the AP. In the years since, he'd helped her live with lasting injuries. He does not look like the young man he portrayed himself to look like, he is not a millionaire and he lives in Indiana, court documents say. "Is it a greater population? He has since been released, now in the custody of authorities, and is charged with first- and second-degree murder. The Associated Press contributed to this report. Alaska cops charged an Anchorage man with murder Tuesday after shocking videos found on a mysterious memory card allegedly captured the suspect assaulting and killing a woman whose remains. There were no immediate details aboutthe earlierinvestigation involving Smith. Police point at recent hiring of new officers as an effort to make the city safer. In court Wednesday, Smith appeared in handcuffs, wearing a yellow jail jumpsuit. An SD card found on an Alaska street showed a woman's murder - NBC News Couple in Alaska cruise ship murder seemed like "perfect American I said to his mother how cool he looked like a prizefighter about to enter the arena.". You're going to kill me!" The card was also labeled homicide at midtown Mariott. He was returning to Anchorage, where he lives, Thim said. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, Mystery over woman's murder on Alaska cruise ship - BBC News (Erik Hill / Alaska Dispatch News). In September, the death of a man in the middle of a busy intersectionshut down anelementary school and a middle schoolwhile police investigated the killing. In 2004 a 40-year-old lady named Merrian was taking a cruise to Alaska on board the Celebrity Mercury. When they were able to determine that this was an actual crime, then the investigation started to quickly speed up.. (Google). According to police, the arrest came after someone reported finding a digital storage device containing video of the killing. "In the fog and the white light, I saw him walking down the alley," Marcy said. Smith, 48, appeared in Anchorage Superior Court on Wednesday afternoon. Last year, Steiner, who was then the agencys director, warned that his attorneys were at their limit and would have to start refusing to handle new cases without a $1 million boost to their $26 million budget. "He had a leather jacket on and blue jeans, with a hoodie. A 48-year-old Anchorage man was charged with murder after someone found a digital card containing dozens of videos and photos that authorities say show him beating and killing a woman in a Midtown hotel room. "[13], According to Hansen, he then drove in the direction of Eklutna Lake, with his vehicle eventually becoming stuck on a desolate road as he veered in the direction of a "muddy swamp". MacDonald serves as the presiding judge for the Fairbanks-based Fourth Judicial District. MacDonald denied the request, saying his findings are not an indictment of the Alaska Public Defender Agency nor its attorneys. Among those charged is Darin Schilmiller, whom authorities say presented himself as the millionaire Tyler from Kansas, using a fake photograph. Just two years ago, in 2014, Anchorage ended the year with 13 homicides on the books the lowest in two decades. The caller later told officers the card a small memory card used in portable digital devices was discarded on the street at the corner of Fairbanks Street and 13th Avenue in Fairview, near the Gambell Carrs store. She covers breaking news, the Mat-Su region, aviation and general assignments. The Alaska teens are being represented by the public defenders office, which has a policy of not commenting on cases. Do you know this baby? It's unclear who the woman is, but authorities are working to identify her and determine how she died. Last Monday, Sept. 30, a woman called police dispatch to report that shed found an SD card containing a video of a homicide on the ground, police said. [9][12] She stood between 4 ft 11 in and 5 ft 3 in, and her hair color ranged from light brown to strawberry-blond. Policeinvestigate the scene of an officer-involved shooting in downtown Anchorage onNovember 12, 2016. Another factor no one could have predicted: James Dale Ritchie, who could prove to bethe most prolific killer in AnchoragesinceJoshua Wade, though APD is not ready to call him that. Anchorage Police Department personnelwere investigating a fatal shooting near 15th Avenue and E Street early Sept. 13, 2016. Resources: If you are facing threatened or actual domestic violence, please discreetly call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or Abused Womens Aid in Crisis in Anchorage at 907-272-0100. Smith originally pleaded not guilty to charges of murder, sexual assault and tampering in the death of his first victim, 30-year-old Kathleen Henry, before admitting to the crime. Doug Moody, a supervisor at the Public Defender Agency, said in a phone interview Tuesday that Cherot will be reviewing MacDonalds critique. Homicide detectives began combing through the 39 images and 12 videos on the card, all documenting a horrifying scene of violence against an unknown woman. Brian . Police immediately suspected John Newman's nephew, 23-year-old Kirby Anthoney. Quotes displayed in real-time or delayed by at least 15 minutes. In arguments included with MacDonalds order, public defenders described an agency at its breaking point, struggling to retain experienced attorneys and unable to compete for recruits against cities with a lower cost of living and comparable pay. Our salaries up here used to be the draw, an attorney for the agency said. "She championed any child. Read about our approach to external linking. Denali Brehmer, 22, pleaded guilty Wednesday to first-degree murder in the June 2019 death of Cynthia Hoffman, the Alaska Department of Law said. Detectives saythey have a "good understanding" of what happened and who was involved in each of those cases. (Bill Roth / ADN). LOUISIANA MAN ARRESTED IN 1989 MURDER CASE: POLICE. Moren, a patron at the bar, was shot and killed in the alley as the bar was closing early in the morning on Dec. 24. The SD card was labeled Homicide at midtown Marriott, according to the affidavit. Nationally, the homicide clearance rate hovers around 64 percent, according to statistics from the FBI. Theres also the question of how an SD card containing images and videos of a slaying, labeled Homicide at midtown Marriott, came to be discarded on a busy Anchorage street. He always committed his murders at night, often around midnight or a short time after. On that day, close to midnight, 48-year-old Charles Doubek called 911 and told dispatchers his wife had been shot, according to a version of events relayed in an affidavit by Alaska State Trooper investigator Jason Fieser. Online court records did not list an attorney for Schilmiller. According to court documents and evidence presented . A 22-year-old Alaska woman pleaded guilty to murdering her 19-year-old "best friend" in 2019 after a man who was allegedly catfishing her offered her $9 million to kill someone. According to Hansen, Eklutna Annie had been wearing blue jeans, a sweater, and a brown leather jacket. Smith is charged with first-degree murder. "I'd say a great number of our citizens don't engage in any activity that's considered dangerous.". Alaska Native Man's Unsolved Murder Part of 'Epidemic' After human remains were found along a highway just south of Anchorage two days after the memory card was found, police were able to start putting pieces together. On Sept. 30, police received a report from someone saying they had found an SD card containing several videos of an assault and murder. James Dale Ritchie was a senior at East High School in 1994. ", "DNA Match IDs Alaska Serial Killer's Victim After 37 Years", https://www.imdb.com/title/tt14666142/?ref_=ttep_ep3, https://www.alaskasnewssource.com/2020/09/22/do-you-know-this-woman/, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Murder_of_Eklutna_Annie&oldid=1140185336, Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery, Anchorage, Alaska. she said. The public defender representing Walters was juggling 200 cases and resigned due to mental exhaustion a week before the trial was to begin in July, according to the order. Market data provided by Factset. Brian Steven Smith, 48, admitted to detectives that he was the man inimages and videos from the card, according to a document filed by the state Department of Law. Smith has a truck matching the one in the images, and pings from his cellphone put him along Rainbow Valley Road off the Seward Highway, near where the womans body was found, within minutes of the last time-stamped photos of the body, the affidavit said. Anchorage police identified the second victim as Veronica Abouchuk. ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Content Warning: This article contains information that might be difficult for some readers. A separate 1998 audit done for the Alaska Legislature said the states public defenders can ethically handle no more than 59 cases in a 60-hour work week; by that standard, Steiner said at the March hearing, his agency needed 66 more lawyers to fulfill its constitutional obligations. Cynthia Hoffman. Brian Steven Smith is shown being arraigned on a charge of first-degree murder at the Anchorage Jail courtroom Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2019, in Anchorage, Alaska. It's not that clear-cut, said McKinnon. MacDonald declined to be interviewed, saying that Walters case is still open. Troopers: Wasilla woman killed, husband charged with her murder, 2023 Iditarod pre-race coverage and Ceremonial Start, Melissa Fry has the forecast for the Iditarod restart in Willow, Animal rights group PETA continues targeting Iditarod sponsors. "Same exactly happens to homicide cases. ANCHORAGE - Following a three-week trial in U.S. District Court, a federal jury convicted an Anchorage man on charges of murder in furtherance of a continuing criminal enterprise, using a firearm to commit murder in a drug trafficking crime, drug conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy. Her eldest daughter Chloe was killed with her. Paula Zorawski,answered her front dooronly to be shot in the face by people, Anchorage police believe, were hoping to rob her son of marijuana. It is routine for me to enter class seeing several other students at the board with James as he provides guidance not only for my class but other classes as well.". Last week, 23-year-old Darla Velador of Anchorage was stabbed to death. Human remains found along Seward Highway near Rainbow trailhead. Brehmer and McIntosh used Leylands pickup on June 2 to take Hoffman on a hike at Thunderbird Falls, a popular location about 20 miles (32 kilometers) north of Anchorage. This page was last edited on 18 February 2023, at 21:52. [4][7][n 1], Eklutna Annie's body was markedly decomposed, indicating her death had occurred months prior. [n 2], The remains of Eklutna Annie are interred at the Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery, under a marker reading "Jane Doe / Died 1980".[21][22]. Copyright 2021 KTUU. Gardner was shot four times, according to the charging documents. You've successfully subscribed to this newsletter! Legal Statement. Anchorage police identified thesecond victim as Veronica Abouchuk. Cruise Ship Killers | True Crime Network In June, U.S. Attorney General William P. Barr declared a public safety emergency in the state, announcing $10.5 million in funding for village police, equipment and public safety buildings. He also told officials Brehmer communicated with him throughout the murder, and sent Snapchat photographs and videos of Hoffman while bound and then after the murder. Parents would be wise to monitor the activity of their children online.. Contact her at zhollander@adn.com. She disappeared without a trace. Fiesers account supports a complaint filed by prosecutors charging Doubek with the murder of his wife, 54-year-old Marjorie Gardner. or redistributed. Police were able to identify Smith, a native of South Africa, from the video after recognizing him from a separate, unspecified investigation, in part because of his accent. Troopers: Wasilla woman killed, husband charged with her murder Alaska teens charged in 'murder for millions' slaying | AP News The same year, Ritchie was inducted into Phi Theta Kappa, an honor society for two-year colleges, and graduated from Blue Mountain Community College with an associate degree in science, according to his diploma. Nine months and a long Arctic winter have come and gone since the abduction, sexual assault and murder of 10-year-old Ashley Johnson-Barr in the northwest Alaska hub community of Kotzebue.. Signs . During the initial 911 call, Doubek reportedly had slurred, garbled speech and admitted to shooting his wife, according to the affidavit. He moved back to Alaska in the spring of 2016. She wore several articles of clothing, including a brown leather hip-length jacket, a light-colored knitted sleeveless shirt (possibly white, beige, or light gray in color), blue jeans, and red, knee-high, high-heeled, zip-up boots. Deadliest state: For women in Alaska, rape and murder are too common About three weeks before Hoffman was killed, Brehmer and Schilmiller began discussing a plan to rape and murder someone in Alaska, according to court documents. Upon examining the card, police said it"contained several videos which appeared to show the assault and subsequent homicide of an adult female" and an investigation was opened. Get all the stories you need-to-know from the most powerful name in news delivered first thing every morning to your inbox. Officials allege they destroyed some of Hoffmans clothing, purse and cellphone, and Brehmer texted Hoffmans family to let them know they dropped her off at Polar Bear Park in Anchorage. I'll stand behind him, beside him, while he's going through this," Bissland added. All rights reserved. Schilmiller offered Brehmer nine or more million dollars to carry out the murder and to have photographs and/or videos of the murder sent to him, the documents say. But its workload is growing more quickly just between the 2017 and 2018 fiscal years, it saw a 16 percent increase in felony cases statewide, according to data the agency has presented to the Legislature. Without a doubt, the new director will get this order for a variety of reasons, and will be thinking about how we can do things more efficiently, Moody said. The year'shomicides include at least seven domestic violence killings, where the victim is believed to have beenslain by an intimate partner or someone in their immediate family. The victim was also wearing several pieces of jewelry, including an apparently handmade metal bracelet containing three turquoise stones,[2][8] a copper necklace containing shell beads, a pendant heart, a Timex metal wristwatch consisting of circular links and with a brown watch face, a ring carved from shell jewelry, and gold-plated, twisted metal hoop earrings. In an unusual order, an Alaska judge has declared a crisis in the states courts, saying that turnover among public defenders is delaying criminal trials and denying justice for victims and defendants alike. This years Iditarod field is the smallest in history. Her fiance was killed. Detectives knew almost immediately that something was wrong, that someones loved one was killed when they found her remains, he said. According to court papers, the group went off trail and followed a path to the bank of the Eklutna River, where Hoffman was bound, shot and thrown into the river. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Published: Jul. Troopers arrived hours later and interviewed Walters, who admitted to beating Queenie, his 22-year-old girlfriend, with his fists and a broom handle. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, McKinnon said police are still trying to piece together what Ritchie did on a daily basis during the months he is believed to have been back in Anchorage. For all the good the internet can do, it can be a very dark place, Bryan Schroder, the U.S. attorney in Alaska, said at a news conference Tuesday. The Emerald Princess, operated by Princess Cruises, had departed from Seattle on Sunday for a week-long trip. In the Lower 48, gangs are more organized and act as outside-the-law businesses, pushing drugs and weapons in defined territories. According to a press release from the Alaska Department of Law, Charlie was sentenced to 75 years . All rights reserved. Information from: Anchorage Daily News, http://www.adn.com, Timothy Hoffman, right, father of slain teenager Cynthia Hoffman receives support from Edie Grunwald, left, who's son David Grunwald was murdered in Nov. 2016, as they entered a Superior courtroom for the arraignment of Cynthia's murder suspects in the Nesbett Courthouse on Tuesday, June 18, 2019 in Anchorage, Alaska. That puts APD at a more than 90 percent "clearance" rate for homicide cases. Read about our approach to external linking. Thim said the arrest hinged on two aspects of the investigation: the citizen who chose to call police when they found that card, and the coordination between law enforcement agencies handling the separate cases of the videos and the body. Even after that request was granted, Steiner said at a legislative budget hearing in March that he needed at least nine more lawyers, on top of an existing staff of roughly 75 criminal attorneys, to fulfill the agencys constitutional obligations. Gardner slept upstairs. Police Say A Teen Killed Her Friend After A Catfish Promised Her $9 Her body was found along the Seward Highway south of Anchorage on Oct. 2. State prosecutors say Darin Lee Jones, 54, and Shawn Michael Phillips, 52, killed Patricia Phelps, 48, in Anchorage's Spenard neighborhood in 2017. Smith is originally from South Africa. Judge: case of slain Mountain Village woman shows how Alaska's justice The victim has been identified as 39-year-old Kristy Manzanares, from the US state of Utah. Tracy Hansen and her dog, Gunner, were walking on the sidewalk in Anchorage, Alaska, when she was suddenly knocked to the ground, she told NBC . 2023 FOX News Network, LLC. But there are plenty of public defender offices in the Lower 48 who are offering those exact salaries right now with lower cost of living and more stability in their government and their budget., The public defender agency asked that MacDonald be disqualified from the Mountain Village case because of his bias against the agency and Walters, the defendant. Doubek and Gardner shared a home in a Wasilla neighborhood off of Snowshoe Lane. Princess Cruises said 39-year-old Kristy Manzanares of Utah. die.". According to the affidavit, Doubek, who had reportedly struggled with substance abuse, had been growing increasingly paranoid that his wife was having an affair, and because of his behavior, Gardner had considered divorcing him.
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