Police investigating woman's death; men charged with sexual assault

Michelle Theriault Boots

Anchorage police said Monday they were investigating the suspicious death of a 29-year-old woman when they learned that she had been sexually assaulted by two men while she was unconscious.

Police have charged Jesse Hess, 32, and George Thomas, 56, with one count each of sexual assault of an incapacitated person, a felony.

According to documents filed in court Hess called police at 11:20 the morning of Nov. 30 to report that a woman he'd been drinking with overnight at his Tudor Road apartment was cold, stiff and not breathing.

Police arrived and found the woman dead and partially covered by a sleeping bag in a bedroom.

Her name is not being released.

It's not clear exactly when the woman died or what caused her death, said police Lt. Anthony Henry.

An autopsy is being conducted.

"When we understand the manner of her death we'll know if (Hess and Thomas) were responsible criminally for it or not," Henry said.

Some blood was found on the bed and on her body, according to charging documents.

The documents allege that Hess and Thomas, described by Henry as friends, had been drinking Rich & Rare Canadian Whiskey the night of Nov. 29 at the apartment.

When the woman, described by Henry as an acquaintance of Hess, arrived at the apartment after 6 p.m. the men offered her whiskey, according to charging documents.

Hess' younger brother, who was also at the apartment and has not been charged with a crime, told police the men were sipping on their drinks and encouraging the woman to drink more. The woman became "very drunk" according to the brother's account in charging document.

Officers found one nearly empty pint and two empty fifths of whiskey as well as beer cans at the apartment.

Police say the men both had sex with the woman throughout the night after she was unconscious.

Thomas is alleged to have taken photos of her on his cell phone while she was incapacitated.

Thomas has a lengthy criminal record in Alaska, including five felonies for assault and robbery dating back to 1977 and 44 misdemeanor convictions, according to the charging documents.

Hess has two misdemeanors on his record.



Reach Michelle Theriault Boots at mtheriault@adn.com or 257-4344.