Two local residents were arraigned on charges of assault on Thursday at the Kenai Courthouse.
Jeffrey Ackerman, of Soldotna, and Tanya Carter, of Kenai, were both arrested Wednesday after Alaska State Troopers responded to disturbances at their respective residences. Both were appointed public defenders by Magistrate Judge Jennifer Wells.
Ackerman, 36, is charged with two counts of assault in the fourth degree and one count of violating a domestic violence protective order. Ackerman was allegedly under the influence of alcohol when he assaulted his girlfriend on two separate occasions, according to an affidavit written by Sgt. Ronny Simmons.
During his arraignment, Ackerman said he was unaware he was under a domestic violence protective order.
Ackerman was convicted of driving under the influence in 2014, while charges of assault and endangering a minor in that same case were dropped. These were red flags for Patrick Sheridan with the Kenai District Attorney’s Office, who said the state has serious concerns about the safety of the alleged victim.
“Given he does have some recent history from just last year … the state does have some performance concerns in this case,” Sheridan said.
Sheridan asked for a $5,000 performance bond and a third party custodian for Ackerman. Wells issued a $2,000 performance bond, but dismissed the need for a custodian.
“I’m going to assign little weight to the previous charge,” she said.
According to the affidavit, the alleged victim reported an argument between herself and Ackerman escalated until he assaulted her.
“(She) said Ackerman grabbed her by the throat and held her as he head butted her in the face three times…,” Simmons wrote. “I observed her nose to be bruised and swollen.”
Ackerman’s girlfriend reported that she left the residence for a period of time to allow Ackerman to cool down. Upon her return, she reported in the affidavit that he “picked her up off the ground and slammed her into the kitchen counter.”
If convicted, Ackerman faces up to three years in prison and a fine of up to $30,000.
Carter, 41, was arrested Wednesday in Soldotna on a charge of assault in the third degree after troopers determined she had threatened a family member with a knife while under the influence of alcohol, according to the dispatch. Her charging documents had not been filed as of Thursday evening.
Carter was convicted of reckless endangerment in 2010, and of possession, theft in the second degree and driving under the influence in 2009.
In Alaska, causing injury or fear of injury with a dangerous instrument is a class C felony. If convicted, Carter faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $50,000.
Carter’s preliminary hearing is set for July 17, while Ackerman’s trial week is set for September 14.
These incidents mark the third and fourth cases of domestic violence to occur in the Soldotna area in the last week.
On July1, Joshua Dey, 38 of Kenai, was arrested for assault in the third degree, criminal mischief in the fourth degree and for interfering with the report of a domestic violence crime. Nikiski resident Walter Moore, 21, was arrested on July 5 for assault in the fourth degree, criminal mischief in the fifth degree and resisting arrest. Moore was later convicted of one count of assault in the fourth degree and was sentenced to jail time and an anger management course.
High numbers of domestic violence cases are not uncommon, locally or statewide. A 2010 survey performed by the University of Alaska Anchorage Justice Center and the Council on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault found that 59 percent of adult women in the state have experienced either sexual violence, intimate partner violence or both in their lifetime.
A 2013 survey by the same organizations found that 52 percent of adult women in the Kenai Peninsula Borough alone have experienced sexual violence, intimate partner violence or both in their lifetime.
There were 871 women who participated in the statewide survey, while 987 participated in the survey performed in the borough.
Alaska State Trooper Public Information Officer Beth Ipsen said that while her department offers several resources for survivors of domestic violence, it takes more than multiple cases in one area for troopers to launch any further investigation.
“(We’ll investigate) if there’s a theft ring where we think they’re connected,” Ipsen said. “If there’s the same suspects involved, the same way the crime’s perpetrated, something like that.”
In the past, Ipsen said the department’s budget sometimes allowed for staff members to be assigned specifically to following up with domestic violence crimes. That is not the case today, she said.
The Department of Public Safety does offer a number of resources on its website, from information on protective orders to phone numbers for shelters and crisis centers around the state.
Reach Megan Pacer at firstname.lastname@example.org.