Holy Cross City Council member faces assault charge

Associated PressSeptember 12, 2012 

A member of the Holy Cross City Council who was among a group of officials targeted in a failed spring recall effort has been charged with another person in the beating of a village woman.

Kristi Turner, 24, faces a misdemeanor assault count in the dispute Sunday in the tiny Alaska Native village that left 22-year-old Margie Peters with a bleeding and swollen face, authorities said.

A court affidavit signed by Alaska State Trooper David Russell said Peters told him Turner punched her and "blamed Peters for messing around with her man."

Also charged with misdemeanor assault in the incident was 23-year-old Chasity Demientieff.

Turner and Demientieff remained in custody Wednesday in Bethel. It was not immediately clear if either has an attorney. Turner's mother, Sandra Sims, declined to comment, except to ask that a story not be done.

The entire Holy Cross City Council was targeted for recall by a group of residents over claims that they failed to file financial disclosures, provide workers' compensation insurance for city employees, hold regular meetings and follow through with scheduled elections.

The council is facing fines from the state for the lapse of financial disclosures, and the village paid Alaska more than $37,000 in civil penalties this summer for failing to provide worker's compensation insurance for more than two years.

In his affidavit, Russell said all three women involved in the incident had been at a dance Saturday night and had been drinking. Sales of alcohol are banned in the community of 175 people, but possession of alcohol is allowed.

The document says Peters told authorities she had walked Turner's boyfriend home and was using the bathroom when Turner came in as the boyfriend was passed out on a couch.

Turner told the trooper she became angry and punched Peters in the face a couple of times then left, the document states. About a half-hour later, Turner said, she was walking with Demientieff when Peters knocked her down. Turner said she grabbed Peters by the hair but walked away when she heard her mother approaching, the document states.

"If Turner had it to do over again she would not have fought Peters," the affidavit states.

Reached by phone, Peters disputed Turner's version. "I never touched them," she said. "I was so defenseless."

Vice Mayor Victor Ladeira declined to comment when asked what repercussions Turner might face as an elected official.

Recall proponents believe nothing will happen.

"It's just another typical day in the business world of Holy Cross," said Bruce Werba, who was among four recall advocates who unsuccessfully ran against four of the council members in April. Turner was not up for re-election this year.

Holy Cross is about 330 miles northwest of Anchorage.

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