This article contains descriptions of violence that some readers may find disturbing.
A Sterling man convicted for kidnapping and sexual assault last year has been sentenced to serve 37 years in prison, the Alaska Department of Law announced Wednesday.
Carmen Perzechino, 59, of Sterling, was convicted of two counts of sexual assault in the first degree and one count of kidnapping following a three-week jury trial in October of 2020.
The assault took place in January of 2001, when an Anchorage woman reported to Alaska State Troopers that a man had sexually assaulted her in his vehicle after he offered to give her a ride from a bar in Soldotna. She said that after the man sexually assaulted her, he refused to let her leave the car and drove along Sterling Highway while threatening to kill her.
The woman jumped from the moving vehicles after seeing a Department of Transportation worker on the side of the road, after which Perzechino drove away. State troopers responded and conducted a sexual assault response callout, including the collection of sexual assault kit.
A trooper investigation into the incident was unable to identify a suspect or vehicle. The woman’s assault kit was not sent to the State Crime Lab for DNA testing “due to standard practice” at the time because there was not an identified suspect against which the DNA from the kit could be compared to, according to a press release.
The kit was tested later as part of a federal grant under the Sexual Assault Kit Initiative (SAKI) program, an effort started in 2016 to test all untested kits. Perzechino became a suspect after the woman’s kit was tested.
The woman agreed to go forward with prosecution of the case in 2019. At sentencing, Judge Jennifer Wells emphasized the need to confine Perzechino to prevent further public harm and sentenced him pursuant to the laws in effect at the time of the incident, as required by law.
Perzechino was sentenced to 37 years in prison, with an additional 15 years of suspended time. He will also be on probation for 10 years and will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
“The SAKI project and thorough follow-up investigation allowed us to finally identify a suspect and hold him accountable for his deplorable actions,” Alaska State Troopers Director Col. Bryan Barlow said in a press release. “The Alaska State Troopers and the DPS Crime Lab will continue to pursue ways to bring cases, especially those involving violent crimes against people, as far as science, technique, and investigative tenacity allow us.”
Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at firstname.lastname@example.org.