Crime & Courts

Alaska State Trooper arrested on domestic violence charges

An Anchorage-based Alaska State Trooper was arrested Monday in Wasilla on multiple charges of felony domestic violence assault.

Garrett Willis, 40, is accused of assaulting three adult victims during incidents in the Mat-Su area and Kenai beginning in 2018, said Col. Bryan Barlow, director of the troopers.

Troopers were notified on Nov. 2 about an allegation of domestic violence in the Wasilla area, he said. An investigation by the Wasilla Police Department identified several previous incidents of domestic violence against two additional victims, Barlow said. He did not say what Willis’ relationship with the victims was, but said Willis was not on duty when any of the incidents occurred.

Troopers investigated the allegations involving the other victims with the help of the Kenai Police Department, Barlow said. The Office of Special Prosecutions independently reviewed the case, he said.

Willis was arrested Monday on two charges of second-degree assault and three counts each of third- and fourth-degree assault. Five of the charges are felonies.

Willis is the second trooper to be arrested in the past two months. Soldotna-based trooper Benjamin Strachan was arrested in October on seven charges of sexual abuse of a minor.

Willis is an investigator for the troopers who recently worked on a federal task force, Barlow said. He has been with the troopers since 2003 and was placed on leave Wednesday, according to Barlow. A spokesman for the troopers said he could not disclose whether Willis’ leave was paid or unpaid “due to personnel privacy statutes.” Willis has served in numerous locations across the state and lives in Wasilla, Barlow said.

The investigation is ongoing and Barlow said additional charges may be filed. Willis is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday and is being held at the Mat-Su Pretrial Facility in Palmer.

Anyone with additional information about Willis or who believes they or someone they know may have been victimized by him is asked to contact troopers at 907-352-5401.

Any open investigations that were handled by Willis will be reviewed by his supervisor and reassigned where appropriate, spokesman Austin McDaniel said by email.