Crime & Courts

Utqiaġvik woman charged with murder after fatal stabbing

An Utqiaġvik woman is accused of fatally stabbing a 20-year-old woman during an argument Wednesday night, charges say.

North Slope Borough Police Department officers were called to an Utqiaġvik home right before 8 p.m. and found 20-year-old Linda Rexford lying on the ground near the entrance, according to a criminal complaint signed by Sgt. Darius Samuelu. Rexford, who was bleeding and unresponsive at the scene, was later taken to the hospital and pronounced dead.

Irma Willie, 20, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter, charges said.

A witness told police that Willie and Rexford came to his residence on Kiogak Street intoxicated and started arguing in the living room, according to the charging documents. When the witness came out of his bedroom, he said, he saw Willie grab a carving knife and stab Rexford, according to the complaint.

The witness said he tried to wrestle the knife away from Willie but she ran out of the house. Rexford ran outside as well, and the witness followed her to tend to her wound, the complaint said.

Samuelu wrote that when officers arrived, Rexford was unresponsive and had a deep wound near the upper-left part of her torso. Emergency Medical Services took Rexford to Samuel Simmonds Memorial Hospital, where medical staff pronounced her dead.

At about 8:09 p.m., a police officer stopped two women walking on Kongek Street, one of whom was Willie, charges said. The other woman did not witness the stabbing but said she heard from Willie that Rexford “tried to steal Irma’s ‘jug’ alcoholic beverage” and that Willie stabbed Rexford when Rexford “came at her,” according to the complaint.

The preliminary hearing for the case is scheduled for March 10 at the Utqiaġvik courthouse.

Alena Naiden

Alena Naiden writes about communities in the North Slope and Northwest Arctic regions for the Arctic Sounder and ADN. Previously, she worked at the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.