Man found guilty of slugging girl, 7, and stealing her bicycle

Anchorage Daily NewsJuly 25, 2012 

An Anchorage jury on Wednesday found Byron Syvinski, the man accused of fighting neighbors and punching a young girl, guilty on all counts in the June 2011 incident.

Syvinski, 33, was reportedly delirious when he tried to steal a bag from a teenager in his Eide Street neighborhood of Midtown, then fought with the teen and his father before attacking 7-year-old Am-Marie Martin in her driveway, police said. Syvinski punched Martin twice in the head and snatched her little pink bike, prosecutors said. Neighbors stopped Syvinski until police officers arrived and arrested him.

Syvinski called police trying to get help four times in the preceding day and had an infected arm wrapped in a cast. He had been put into protective custody -- generally used to hold someone who might do harm to themselves -- and released just before his violent encounter with neighbors.

Police charged Syvinski with first-, third- and fourth-degree assault, as well as robbery.

Martin is now almost 9 and has recovered, though she still suffers from headaches and dizzy spells, said her mother, Andrea Dunwoody.

Dunwoody wrapped an arm around her daughter as they waited for the jury of eight women and four men to give their verdict: guilty on all counts. Martin handed her crying mother a tissue after Judge Jack Smith uttered the final "guilty."

Dunwoody said she planned to sue Syvinski for her daughter's hospital bills and was looking into suing the people responsible for Syvinski's release from protective custody.

Martin, the victim, told reporters outside the courtroom Wednesday that she was relieved to hear the guilty verdict.

"Like I can finally go outside without someone being right next to me," she said.

Dunwoody said the attack had made her daughter afraid to be outside their home.

"She doesn't have to worry about him getting out anytime soon," Dunwoody said. "We're going to go home and let her play outside."

Syvinski's sentencing is set for October.


Reach Casey Grove at casey.grove@adn.com or 257-4589.