Crime & Courts

Retrial jury clears Wasilla man of murder charge in toddler daughter’s death but finds him guilty of negligent homicide

A Palmer jury Tuesday found a Wasilla man whose murder conviction was overturned several years ago guilty only of criminally negligent homicide in his toddler daughter’s death, clearing him of murder and manslaughter charges after a lengthy retrial.

Clayton Allison was convicted of second-degree murder in 2015 and sentenced to 30 years in prison for the 2008 death of Jocelynn Allison, his 15-month-old daughter. His conviction was overturned in 2019 by the Alaska Court of Appeals, which contended the presiding judge failed to allow jurors to hear about a potentially deadly medical condition the girl may have had.

Clayton Allison could be sentenced to up to three years in prison for the criminally negligent homicide conviction but has already served more than four years on the previous conviction, according to the state Department of Law. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for June.

Allison’s second trial began in Palmer Superior Court last month, and jurors deliberated for two weeks before determining he was not guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges.

His daughter died of traumatic brain injuries that Allison said happened when she fell down the stairs at the family home near Wasilla. She had bruises on her rib and leg, new and old bleeding in the brain and dislocated neck vertebrae, according to previous court testimony. Prosecutors argued her injuries were the result of abuse.

The family was seeking genetic testing for the child because of several unexplained health problems, according to the appeals court opinion. During the first trial, Palmer Superior Court Judge Vanessa White barred Allison’s witnesses from discussing Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a genetic condition that could have made the girl prone to internal bleeding. CJ Allison, who is Jocelynn’s mother and is married to Clayton Allison, was diagnosed with the disorder after girl’s death.

During the first trial, White threw out a 2009 admission of abuse from Clayton Allison because she found it to be coerced.

CJ Allison advocated for her husband throughout the case and wrote online that she hoped he would be exonerated of all the charges against him.

Tess Williams

Tess Williams is a reporter focusing on breaking news and public safety. Before joining the ADN in 2019, she was a reporter for the Grand Forks Herald in North Dakota. Contact her at