Nikiski man charged with mother’s murder

The 20-year-old could face as many as 104 years in prison if convicted

Alaska State Troopers logo.

Alaska State Troopers logo.

On Wednesday, a Kenai grand jury indicted 20-year-old River Aspelund, of Nikiski, for the murder of his mother, Jeryl Bates.

The charges brought forward include murder in the first degree, murder in the second degree, manslaughter, and tampering with physical evidence, according to a press release from the state Department of Law.

According to a dispatch from Alaska State Troopers, they performed a welfare check at a residence in Nikiski around 9 p.m. on Sept. 6. When they arrived, they found Bates dead inside the home she shared with Aspelund in Bernice Lake Trailer Park.

The dispatch says evidence at the residence cast suspicion on the nature of the death. The press release from the Department of Law said there were gunshot and knife wounds on the victim.

Investigators from both the Alaska Bureau of Investigation’s Soldotna Major Crimes Unit and Alaska Crime Lab responded to the scene, and troopers apprehended Aspelund based on the results of the investigation, according to the dispatch.

According to the press release, if convicted of the charges, Aspelund faces 104 years in prison. Arraignment has been set for Tuesday. He is in custody at Wildwood Correctional Center.

Reach reporter Jake Dye at

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