Crime & Courts

Man convicted of manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide in wife’s death on St. Paul Island

A 54-year-old man was convicted last week by an Anchorage jury on charges of manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide, but was found not guilty on a second-degree murder charge tied to the 2021 death of his wife on St. Paul Island.

The Jan. 24 verdict came after eight days of trial for Joshua Rukovishnikoff in Anchorage Superior Court, records show.

Police on the Bering Sea island responded to a medical call at Rukovishnikoff’s house on a morning in late September 2021 and found his wife unresponsive in the home, according to a summary of the police report written by Assistant Attorney General Samuel Vandergaw.

Officers and clinic staff tried to revive her, but she died at the scene, the summary said.

Rukovishnikoff told an officer he and his wife fought in the days leading up to her death and the altercation had turned physical that morning, the summary said. He told authorities that he placed her in a chokehold until she stopped moving, and he said “it was an accident,” the summary said.

Rukovishnikoff is scheduled to be sentenced in May on the homicide and manslaughter charges, and could face a maximum sentence of 30 years total. He was in custody Thursday at the Anchorage Correctional Complex.

The attorney representing Rukovishnikoff could not be immediately reached for comment Thursday.


The couple’s 2-year-old son died in December 2021 — the guardians who were entrusted to care for him following his mother’s death are accused of killing him.

Steven Melovidov, 33, and Sophie Myers-Melovidov, 30, are awaiting trial on charges of first- and second-degree murder and assault in the toddler’s death.

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