Crime & Courts

3 men charged with fatal stabbing of man in Midtown Anchorage

Three men were charged Monday with the murder of a man found stabbed to death this month outside a business in Midtown Anchorage.

The indictments come after the death of Philip Cleveland, 28, of Kotzebue. On Aug. 9, Cleveland was found dead on the 200 block of Northern Lights Boulevard near A Street.

Court records show Bert Jones Jr., 32, of Kotzebue, was indicted on charges of first- and second-degree murder. Shalom Gilmore, 27, of Kodiak, was indicted on one charge of first-degree murder, and 39-year-old Ralph Jim, of Sitka, was charged with one count of second-degree murder.

[2 people found dead in Anchorage, police say]

According to the criminal complaint filed against Jones, officers arrived at the scene at around 11 p.m. Aug. 9 to find Cleveland in a pool of blood. Investigators noted he appeared to have deformities in his face "consistent with broken bones," and stabbing and slashing injuries to his neck and face as well as defensive injuries to his hands and harms.

According to the complaint, which includes surveillance video from a nearby business, witnesses told police that a group of people had been partying near the Walmart on A Street and then walked across the street to the former Blockbuster Video store. Cleveland came to their location, witnesses said, and then things went "haywire."

Investigators wrote that surveillance video showed a group of five to seven people arriving at the location, where they appeared to be consuming alcohol. Several minutes after joining the group, Cleveland was struck in the head by one member of the group, later identified as Jones, which immediately knocked him to the ground.

According to the complaint, the video does not show any provocation from Cleveland during the ordeal and that he did not appear to possess any weapon.

The video then shows Jones returning multiple times to punch and kick Cleveland. Jim is also seen on the video punching and kicking the victim.

According to the complaint, the group scatters as the beating begins except for one man, later identified as Gilmore, who sits against the building and watches while Cleveland is assaulted. The complaint states that Jones went over to Gilmore between assaults on Cleveland and gave Gilmore a "fist bump." He also appears to get a knife from Gilmore, which was used to stab Cleveland.

If convicted of first-degree murder, Jones and Gilmore would face a prison sentence of 25 to 99 years. If convicted of second-degree murder, they would face a sentence of 15 to 99 years.

Jones' bail was set at $250,000 cash plus a court-approved third-party custodian. Jim and Gilmore's bail was set at $50,000 cash plus a custodian. All three men were scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday in Anchorage Superior Court.

Suzanna Caldwell

Suzanna Caldwell is a former reporter for Alaska Dispatch News and Alaska Dispatch. She left the ADN in 2017.