Twenty-seven-year-old Bonnie Degenstein made her first court appearance Saturday afternoon at the Anchorage jail, less than a day after police arrested the woman on a second-degree murder charge following a 911 call to report she had accidentally shot her boyfriend.
A magistrate judge set bail at $300,000 due to the severity of the charge. Second-degree murder is an unclassified felony that carries up to a 99-year sentence and a half-million-dollar fine. Degenstein faces a presumptive minimum sentence of 10 to 20 years for her alleged crime.
Police say Degenstein called Anchorage Police Department dispatch at 10:16 p.m. Friday. She said she and Ryan Tamborrino, 24, had been drinking and "playing with a guns" at a residence near midtown and that she'd accidentally shot him.
Degenstein's family sat in during the hearing. Her mother refused to comment on the charge, saying she knew as little as everyone else.
The accused woman said she would hire an attorney with the help of her family. The judge said Degenstein would not be released until a second bail hearing.
According to a charging document, Degenstein reported to police dispatch that she'd shot her boyfriend in the head while the two were drinking and "playing with guns."
Police responded and found Degenstein sitting on a couch just inside the front door of an upstairs apartment. Tamborrino was sitting on an adjacent couch. The wounded man was slumped over, bleeding profusely from his head but still breathing, the charges say. Tamborrino was transported to a local hospital; he died later of an apparent gunshot wound to his forehead.
Officers observed two handguns -- a .40 and .45 caliber -- sitting on a coffee table in front of the two couches. Two spent shell casings from each of the guns rested on the floor. There was a bullet in the chamber and two bullets in the magazine of one gun and no rounds in the other firearm, the charges say.
With blood allegedly on her pants, sandals and foot, Degenstein told police, "I can't believe I did this." Officers said she smelled of alcohol.
A downstairs neighbor who told police the victim was his friend said he went to bed early and did not hear any gunshots. He also said he wasn't aware of Tamborrino owning firearms. The witness's roommate told police he'd seen the couple fighting two days earlier. Tamborrino was allegedly yelling at Degenstein, who was standing outside the apartment, telling her she needed to leave.
The roommate offered Degenstein a ride home, and during the drive she said she'd been arguing with her boyfriend because she found out he was dating other girls.
Degenstein's next court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 10.
Degenstein has one prior conviction, for drunk driving, received in 2012.