Crime & Justice

Case by case: City sees 19 homicides in 2013

Anchorage detectives investigated the deaths of 19 people as a result of homicide in 2013, according to city police. In 2012, Anchorage had 18 homicide victims, police said.

Of the 2013 cases, two remain unsolved with no suspects named or arrests made, police spokeswoman Jennifer Castro said. Another three investigations were of fatal officer-involved shootings, she said. And while police initially referred to Andrew Conn, 32, as a homicide victim, Castro said more recently that his death is considered suspicious and not necessarily a homicide.

Here are the details:

Gary Erwin, 67, and Melvin Kosbruk, 38

Date: Jan. 13

Charged: No one

Weapon: Not released

Location: 524 Irwin St.

Circumstances: After Kosbruk's family was unable to reach him by phone, his family asked a landlord to open the apartment he shared with Erwin, his longtime roommate. The landlord discovered the bodies of both men inside the locked apartment, police said. Few details were ever released, though a homicide detective told the Daily News the case was considered a double murder, as opposed to a murder-suicide.

Status: Unsolved

T.R.E.L. Zawko, 21

Date: Jan. 18

Charged: Victor Enrique Garcia, 23

Weapon: Aluminum baseball bat

Location: 1307 Crescent Dr.

Circumstances: Zawko's roommates found him bloody and battered in their garage. Investigators found the bent bat just outside the door and footprints in the snow they eventually matched to Garcia, a neighbor, who had apparently cut his neck soon after the attack, police said. After DNA tests, police charged and arrested Garcia with murder more than three months later.

Status: Garcia remains jailed on murder charges and is awaiting trial.

Purdy Alston, 26

Date: Feb. 18

Charged: William Sharp, 20

Weapon: Handgun

Location: 1029 E. 20th Ave.

Circumstances: According to the charges against Sharp, a former star receiver for the West High football team, Sharp knocked on Alston's door in the early morning hours, and Alston went outside with him. A short conversation about marijuana preceded the shooting, which ultimately left Alston dead. A little less than a month later, through interviews and comparing photos, a detective learned that Sharp was the shooter and lived in a building next door to Alston, according to the charges.

Status: Sharp, out on bail, is awaiting trial on murder charges.

Carl Bowie III, 25

Date: Feb. 19

Charged: No one (officer-involved shooting)

Weapons: Handguns

Location: Near Windflower Street and 53rd Avenue

Circumstances: An off-duty police dispatcher spotted Bowie peering into cars parked at the Dimond Center and gave officers a description of the pickup he left in, which was stolen. Police chased Bowie to a neighborhood north of Lake Otis Parkway and Tudor Road, where he rammed two patrol cars and became stuck in a snowbank. In police video from a dashboard-mounted camera, the pickup is seen reversing suddenly, narrowly missing an officer, while officers Roger Billiet and Alan Rydberg fire handguns at Bowie, killing him.

Status: The state Office of Special Prosecutions and Appeals cleared Billiet and Rydberg of any criminal wrongdoing, and police officials said they had been justified under police policy, which has since changed.

Henry Ningeok, 23

Date: March 7

Charged: Donald Leroy Williams, 49

Weapon: Knife

Location: 227 Newell St.

Circumstances: Williams and Ningeok, a younger family member, were drinking heavily in an East Anchorage mobile home when they started fighting, police said. Williams allegedly picked up a knife and stabbed Ningeok once in the chest, killing him, a police spokeswoman said.

Status: Williams remains jailed on murder charges and awaits trial, set to begin in March.

Detluf Wulf, 27

Date: April 5

Charged: No one (officer-involved shooting)

Weapons: Handguns

Location: 1340 Gambell St.

Circumstances: Police officers found Wulf slumped over the wheel of an SUV in the Gambell Street Carrs Quality Centers parking lot, Police Chief Mark Mew told the Daily News. The officers, Christopher Alexander and Michael Farr, knocked on the vehicle's window and noticed Wulf had a handgun, then yelled at him to put his hands up, Mew said. Instead, Wulf opened the door and pointed the gun at the officers, who shot him.

Status: The state Office of Special Prosecutions and Appeals cleared Alexander and Farr of criminal wrongdoing.

Mabil Duir, 24

Date: April 6

Charged: Duol Chuol, 23

Weapon: Knife

Location: 5437 E. Northern Lights Blvd.

Circumstances: Duir and Chuol were drinking, and Chuol told police later he became angry when Duir dropped their bottle of booze, according to a charging document. Chuol allegedly stabbed Duir multiple times, witnesses called police and medics, and Duir died about 45 minutes after medics brought him to a hospital. Chuol said later they had been close friends and asked police for forgiveness, the charges said.

Status: Chuol remains jailed on murder charges and awaiting trial, set for May.

Touch Chea, 73, and Sorn Sreap, 71

Date: May 25

Charged: Jerry Active, 25

Weapons: Fists and/or feet

Location: 415 N. Bragaw St.

Circumstances: Hours after Active's release from prison, he broke into a family's apartment and raped two elderly women, beating one of them to death along with her husband, according to court documents. Active is also charged with raping a 2-year-old in the attack, which prosecutors said was random. The girl's parents arrived home soon after, and her father fought with Active. Police arrested Active about a block away. In a review of Active's past criminal cases, officials with the state Department of Law realized a prosecutor had made a mistake years before in offering Active an inappropriately soft plea bargain.

Status: Active remains jailed on murder, sexual assault and assault charges. He is held on $1.5 million bail, with a trial date set for February.

Kenneth John, 26

Date: June 24

Charged: No one (officer-involved shooting)

Weapon: Handgun

Location: 12th Avenue, near Hyder Street

Circumstances: Police said John threatened Officer Christopher Simmons with a machete and a hatchet during a traffic stop after Simmons found John's Chevrolet Blazer parked facing the wrong direction. John refused Simmons' commands to stop approaching, and the officer shot him.

Status: The state Office of Special Prosecutions and Appeals cleared Simmons of any criminal wrongdoing.

Stefan Whitis, 40

Date: July 17

Charged: Joshua Lambert, 23

Weapons: Fists

Location: Parking lot between North Flower and North Klevin streets

Circumstances: A group of people, including Whitis and Lambert, were drinking in the parking lot when a fight broke out between the two men, police said. Lambert hit Whitis, who fell and hit his head on the pavement, said police, who initially charged Lambert with assault and upgraded the case to manslaughter.

Status: Lambert remains jailed awaiting a trial date set to start Jan. 21.

Timothy Backus, 53

Date: Aug. 17

Charged: Thomasina Richardson-Henry, 48, and "John Doe"

Weapons: Fist and piece of wood

Location: 3911 E. 7th Ave.

Circumstances: Backus and Richardson-Henry had been living together for about three years, according to charging documents in the case. They had a fight one day, and Backus left, later returning to find his girlfriend, Richardson-Henry and another man at the apartment, the charges say. Things turned violent, and the man punched Backus, then Richardson-Henry hit Backus with an 18-inch piece of wood, a prosecutor said. The man dragged Backus outside, where police found him later, bleeding. He died nine days later at a hospital, according to his obituary.

Status: Richardson-Henry remains jailed on a manslaughter charge awaiting a trial set for February. At last report, the man charged under the name "John Doe" had not been arrested.

Ferdinand Marquez, 50

Date: Sept. 25

Charged: David Walent, 24, Matthew Martin, 22, Jerrick Blankenship, 18, and Lewis Martin, 33

Weapons: Fists, feet, metal road sign

Location: 4020 Folker St.

Circumstances: Walent told a detective after the attack that he had been "really drunk," according to the charges against him. The four men had apparently been unprovoked by Marquez, who was sleeping outside behind the Anchorage Community Mental Health Services. They allegedly punched and kicked Marquez and hit him with a road sign, then rifled through his backpack, according to the charges. Police later found some of Marquez's belongings at an apartment three of the men shared.

Status: The defendants remain jailed awaiting trial on murder and robbery charges, except Lewis Martin, who faces just the murder charge. Walent and Blankenship also face charges of evidence tampering. Their trial is set for February.

Unnamed newborn baby

Date: Oct. 15

Charged: Ashley Ard, 25

Weapon: None

Location: Turner Park, Eagle River

Circumstances: Ard, a specialist at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, gave birth at home, wrapped the newborn in a towel and left it outside at the park under a bush, a detective said. Someone walking their dog found the baby's body about eight hours later, the detective said. Police later learned that medics had treated Ard for injuries related to childbirth and linked her to the baby's death.

Status: Ard remains jailed and awaiting trial, set for May.

Nita Kilapsuk, 40

Date: Oct. 17

Charged: No one (murder-suicide)

Weapon: Gun, type not released

Location: 21715 Valley Ave.

Circumstances: Police said Kilapsuk's boyfriend, 49-year-old Michael Hagood, fatally shot Kilapsuk inside an old bus, then turned the gun on himself. Kilapsuk had earlier been on the phone with a police dispatcher saying Hagood was threatening her with the gun and would not let her leave, a police spokeswoman said. Just as officers arrived, they heard two gunshots and found the couple dead.

Status: Case closed

Adrian Augustine, 38

Date: Oct. 19

Charged: No one

Weapons: Fists and/or feet. Police did not release information on other suspected weapons.

Location: Parking lot behind 721 W. Fourth Ave.

Circumstances: Augustine died days after a raucous fight in the parking lot behind the Gaslight Lounge in downtown Anchorage. The bar's owner told the Daily News a manager told him the fight started after Augustine's wife yelled at a group of people. She and other combatants were injured in the fracas, police said.

Status: Unsolved

Sean Mulgrew, 36

Date: Oct. 20

Charged: Johnie Jones, 73

Weapon: Handgun

Location: 915 Ingra St.

Circumstances: After police responded to a shooting, they found Mulgrew dead in an alley. Police followed a blood trail to Jones' apartment, authorities said. Jones allegedly told authorities that Mulgrew knocked on his door in the early morning hours and pointed a flare gun at him. And while Jones denied shooting Mulgrew, police say they later found two bindles of heroin, suspected cocaine and handguns in the apartment. Jones' lawyer said in court the man was defending himself.

Status: Jones faces multiple charges -- including murder, manslaughter, weapons and drug misconduct, and possessing a weapon as a felon -- and remains jailed and awaiting trial, set for March

Ryan Tamborrino, 24

Date: Dec. 6

Charged: Bonnie Degenstein, 27

Weapon: Handgun

Location: 500 block of West 54th Ave.

Circumstances: In a call to police dispatchers, Degenstein admitted to shooting Tamborrino while they were drinking and playing with guns, police said. Officers found Tamborrino slumped over on a couch. He was still breathing for a time, but died later at a hospital, according to charges filed against Degenstein. The charges said Tamborrino died from what appeared to be "a direct contact gunshot wound to his forehead" and a neighbor told police she heard the couple arguing about Tamborrino dating other women prior to the shooting.

Status: Degenstein remains jailed on a murder charge awaiting trial, set for March.

Reach Casey Grove at or 257-4343. Twitter updates:


Casey Grove

Casey Grove is a former reporter for the Anchorage Daily News. He left the ADN in 2014.