Crime & Courts

Sitka man charged with murder in girlfriend's death

A 39-year-old man walked into the Sitka Police Department lobby around 3 a.m. Saturday and said he had killed his girlfriend, according to police.

Reuben Yerkes was arrested and charged with first-degree murder, said a news release from the police department. He was at the Sitka jail on Saturday, held on $500,000 bail, it said.

The name of the woman killed has not been released. Officers found her body in her home on Davidoff Street. She was 28 years old, the statement said.

According to the felony criminal complaint written by a Sitka police detective, Yerkes showed up at the police department early Saturday, wanting to turn himself in. He told an officer that he had drunk a lot of alcohol Friday evening at a friend's house. Yerkes said he and his girlfriend argued at the home, left in a cab and continued to argue once they got to the house, where they lived together, according to the complaint.

Yerkes told the officer that his girlfriend hit him in the face and on his neck. He said he took a handgun out of a nightstand drawer. He told the officer, "I shot her, man," according to the complaint.

Yerkes told the officer the couple had dated for two months, the complaint said.

The Daily Sitka Sentinel reported that Yerkes worked as a paralegal for the City and Borough of Sitka legal department.

The last murder in the small Southeast Alaska community of Sitka was in 2008, when four people were killed, said a records clerk with the police department. Jason Abbott pleaded guilty but mentally ill in the 2008 killings of his grandparents, an aunt and her fiance, The Associated Press reported at the time.

Tegan Hanlon

Tegan Hanlon was a reporter for the Anchorage Daily News between 2013 and 2019. She now reports for Alaska Public Media.