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Man given 104 years for murder of wife

Casey Grove

An Anchorage Superior Court judge Friday sentenced 69-year-old James Wease to an effective life sentence for killing his wife, Dana Sena-Wease, in 2007.

It is the second time Wease has been put in prison for killing someone in Alaska. He fatally shot a man over a marijuana deal in 1977 but was back out committing burglaries in the mid-1980s, court records show.

In March, a jury convicted Wease of second-degree murder and evidence tampering in his wife's death.

Judge Michael Wolverton on Friday handed down a 104-year sentence for Wease: the maximum sentence of 99 years for the murder, plus five years for tampering with physical evidence, and the judge restricted Wease's chance to get parole for about 70 years.

Evidence during Wease's trial showed he got into a fight with his wife when she relapsed into cocaine and alcohol abuse. Wease's lawyer, Philip Widener, argued that the fight was mutual and that Dana Wease died of an "accidental piercing" as her husband tried to defend himself.

State prosecutors said the woman was stabbed multiple times, then dumped along the Seward Highway near Ingram Creek, north of Turnagain Pass. Wease then disposed of evidence, including a bloody piece of carpet.

Her decomposed body was found by a trapper.

As a prosecutor described the condition of the body in court Friday during the sentencing hearing, Dana Wease's daughter, Kaylee Sena, rushed out of the courtroom, crying uncontrollably.

"I didn't know the details," Sena said later, outside the courtroom, which had been packed with friends and family of the murder victim.

Sena said she felt "blessed" at the support and the harsh sentence.

"I feel elated and just at peace," she said. "There's justice."


By CASEY GROVE
Anchorage Daily News