Convicted killer found guilty in corrections officer beating

Matt Sartwell
Fran Durner

A convicted killer already serving a 199-year sentence for a double homicide was found guilty Tuesday of severely beating a corrections officer in 2012, prosecutors said.

After being denied a phone call and ordered back to his cell at the Anchorage jail, James Coven, 27, punched and kicked the unidentified officer, the Anchorage District Attorney's Office said in a statement Wednesday.

The victim sustained "a fractured nose, multiple broken teeth and a concussion" before being assisted by other officers.

Coven was convicted by a jury after a week-long trial for first- and second-degree assault, both felonies, in the September attack. As a result, he will likely have an additional 15 to 20 years tacked on to his life sentence, the district attorney's office said.

The officer has returned to work at a different correctional facility but is still dealing with the attack's lasting effects.

Coven was also convicted of the 2009 Anchorage slaying of Christon Lee and Matthew Peterson, both 19, in 2012. Coven shot the men to death while they sat in a pickup in the 1600 block of Russian Jack Drive. The killings were apparently a drug run gone wrong, prosecutors said at the time.

He is currently being held at the Anchorage jail. Coven will be sentenced on April 2 for the attack on the corrections officer.