Crime & Courts

Trial begins for man accused of killing his father, former Alaska lawmaker Dean Westlake

On an August morning in 2022, Tallon Westlake called 911 and asked for an ambulance.“My dad — I don’t know what’s wrong,” he told the dispatcher on the line, according to audio of the 911 call.

The dispatcher told him to start chest compressions until the medics could get to the Anchorage duplex.

“I think he’s gone,” Tallon Westlake responded. “Dad, dad, dad.”

When police and medics arrived at Rovenna Street, they found a duplex that smelled like bleach, with a load of laundry in the washing machine.

They also discovered a former Alaska lawmaker dead on the floor, his face unrecognizably beaten.

The trial of Tallon Westlake, accused of first-degree murder in the death of his father, Dean Westlake, began in Anchorage on Tuesday.

Tallon Westlake, now 38, is charged with four counts including murder and tampering with evidence in the Aug. 20, 2022, death.


Dean Westlake, from Kiana, was 62 when he died.

A father of three, Westlake had served as a Northwest Arctic Borough Assembly member and worked for NANA — the Alaska Native corporation for the region — in economic development, as well as in law enforcement.

In the Alaska Legislature, he served as a Democratic state representative for District 40, the Kotzebue region, in 2017 but resigned after sexual harassment accusations became public, as well as the revelation he’d fathered a child with a 16-year-old girl when he was 28.

Charging documents previously said Tallon Westlake was angry at his father for attempting to evict him from a duplex off Arctic Boulevard in the Taku neighborhood of Anchorage.

In opening statements Tuesday, prosecutors said nothing about motive, instead focusing on forensic evidence found at the scene and Westlake’s extensive injuries.

Tallon Westlake “brutally murdered his father,” Daybell said.

Witnesses described the initial police investigation. When Anchorage Police Department officers first arrived, they found Tallon Westlake on the driveway, “visibly in distress,” testified officer Kaden Pohl. “In a high emotional state,” Pohl said.

Chelsey See, a police crime scene team member, testified about finding two Ring doorbell cameras and a pair of boots in otherwise nearly empty garbage cans at the house.

Jurors also saw photos of Westlake’s body covered in a sheet, as well as a close-up of his injured face.

Westlake’s public defenders Jessica Winn and Eric Mortensen-Nemore seemed to stress to the jury that police quickly made Tallon Westlake their sole suspect, without pursuing other potential explanations for Dean Westlake’s death.

“If police kept an open mind, if they had reevaluated their assumptions as they collected and processed evidence, it’s hard to say what other leads and what other evidence would have come to light,” Winn said.

During the proceedings, Tallon Westlake sat at the defense table in a dress shirt and slacks. His attorneys had previously petitioned the court for permission to cover his face tattoos in front of the jury, but had withdrawn the petition.

The trial continues in Anchorage on Wednesday.

Michelle Theriault Boots

Michelle Theriault Boots is a longtime reporter for the Anchorage Daily News. She focuses on in-depth stories about the intersection of public policy and Alaskans' lives. Before joining the ADN in 2012, she worked at daily newspapers up and down the West Coast and earned a master's degree from the University of Oregon.