Crime & Courts

Fairbanks man charged with 2nd-degree murder in death of year-old girl

A 31-year-old Fairbanks man accused of killing a 1-year-old girl was indicted this week by a grand jury on second-degree murder charges.

Zackry Johnson was watching his girlfriend’s children at their home on Nov. 3 while she was at work, according to a probable cause statement filed with a criminal complaint.

Detectives called to the house the next day interviewed Johnson, who initially told them the girl must have been hurt while “play fighting” with a sibling, according to the sworn statement signed by Fairbanks police detective Rob Hall.

Johnson later admitted injuring the girl, saying he was “trying to get her to lay down for a nap so he could play video games,” Hall wrote. He also acknowledged his actions probably caused the child’s death, “explaining how he had not intended to kill her.”

Johnson told his girlfriend the girl was sleeping when she arrived home that evening, according to the document. She discovered the child was dead the next morning when she went in to wake her.

Johnson was being held at Fairbanks Correctional Center on $4 million cash bail, the Alaska Department of Law said Thursday.

A Fairbanks grand jury handed up the indictment against him on Thursday.