Crime & Courts

Fairbanks man charged with murder in roommate’s death

A 40-year-old Fairbanks man was arrested and charged with second-degree murder last week, about two months after he fatally assaulted his roommate, authorities said.

David Wasson, a 35-year-old North Pole resident, was found dead in the basement of an abandoned house in late February, according to an Alaska State Troopers online dispatch.

Jonothan Walter Head was arrested on second-degree murder and assault charges linked to the death last week, troopers said.

A break in the case came in mid-March when troopers got an email from a woman who described herself as a close friend of Wasson as well as an acquaintance of Head’s, according to charging documents filed in Fairbanks last week.

Head originally said he found Wasson dead, according to a sworn affidavit filed with the criminal complaint by Investigator Matthew Iverson.

But the woman said she’d spoken with Head a few days after Wasson’s death, and he told her that he had hit Wasson “over and over again” because the other man wasn’t sharing a bottle of vodka with him, Iverson wrote. She told troopers that Head felt guilty because “he was hitting David which may have killed him, and he feels responsible for David being gone.”

On March 30, troopers received an autopsy report that indicated the cause of Wasson’s death was a “right to left shift of his brain” that “could have been caused by blunt impact of the head,” according to the affidavit.

A history of chronic drug and alcohol abuse were also listed as contributing causes of his death.

On April 21, troopers contacted Head, who told them that Wasson and Head had been living together when Wasson died.

Head told them that he had “punched David on his head between five to ten times,” and that Wasson asked why Head was hitting him and didn’t defend himself, the affidavit said.

Head told troopers he went to sleep, and when he woke up, Wasson was not moving and had no pulse. He said he reported Wasson’s death three hours later.

Head was being held on $250,000 bail at Fairbanks Correctional Center. His next court appearance is scheduled for May 2.

Annie Berman

Annie Berman covers health care for the Anchorage Daily News. She's a fellow with Report for America, and is a graduate of the University of California Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. A veteran of AmeriCorps and Vista volunteer programs, she's previously reported for Mission Local and KQED in the Bay Area.