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Crime & Courts

Second man charged in fatal beating on New Year’s Day in Emmonak

A second man is facing murder charges for his role in the fatal beating of a 39-year-old man on New Year’s Day in the Western Alaska village of Emmonak, according to Alaska State Troopers.

Darren Hootch, 34, was arrested Sunday and 27-year-old Rudolf Waska was arrested last week in the death of 39-year-old Brian Agwiak.

Hootch and Waska had gone to Agwiak’s house on the night of Jan. 1 to find alcohol, according to charging documents. In a later interview with investigators, Hootch said he threatened Agwiak with a copper pipe before Waska beat him, troopers said.

Waska continued to beat Agwiak after he was unconscious, according to the charges, and he and Hootch left the home while Agwiak was still alive. The state medical examiner told investigators that Agwiak may not have died if he had received immediate medical attention, the charges said.

Agwiak had been on the phone with a former girlfriend when the assault began around 8:30 p.m., according to the charges.

A family member reported to troopers around 3:30 a.m. Saturday that Agwiak had been found dead in the home, charges said.

Both men are facing two charges each of second-degree murder, two counts of first-degree robbery, three charges of first-degree burglary, tampering with physical evidence and third-degree assault. Hootch is also facing a charge of harassment.

Waska’s bail was set at $100,000 and Hootch’s was set at $50,000, troopers said.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly identified who told investigators about whether the victim might have survived with immediate medical attention. It was the state medical examiner, not a forensic scientist from the Alaska State Crime Lab.