Non-Native man guilty of strangling, sexualizing Native woman will serve no time
Editor’s note: This story contains graphic descriptions of violence and sexually-related assault that may be disturbing to some readers.
Justin Schneider, 33, an Eagle River, Alaska, man who choked a Native woman to unconsciousness and then masturbated on her won’t have to serve a day in jail nor register as a sex offender after making a deal with prosecutors. The deal includes probation and a rehabilitation program.
Anchorage Assistant District Attorney Andrew Grannik, said the plea deal could be considered “a pass” for Schneider and that he hoped the 34-year-old wouldn’t strangle and masturbate on anyone again.
According to KTVA.com and a written criminal complaint by APD Detective Brett Sarber, the victim— a 25-year-old Native woman — told police Schneider picked her up at a gas station in Midtown Anchorage, drove to a remote location, and attacked her. Justin identified himself to the victim as ‘Dan’ and gave her a ride under the guise of going to Muldoon.
Instead of going to Muldoon, the driver drove to another area stating he had to load items into his car from another vehicle. He asked the victim for help, when she came to the rear of the vehicle, Schneider attacked her and strangled her in a front choke hold while telling her that he was going to kill her. When the victim woke up, Schneider was zipping up his pants and the victim was covered in ejaculate. Her then offered her a tissue.
"The man told her that he wasn't really going to kill her, that he needed her to believe she was going to die so that he could be sexually fulfilled," Detective Sarber wrote.
The woman says Schneider then let her get her backpack and cellphone, to which she then immediately called the police and reported his license plate number. Due to the call from the victim and description, the police found Schneider, who had left the scene to go to his federal job at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.
Schneider, who lost his job at the airport said to Anchorage Assistant District Attorney Andrew Grannik that losing his job was tantamount to a “life sentence.”
The courts’ response to Schneider strangling and masturbatiing on the victim
According to Anchorage Assistant District Attorney Andrew Grannik, he agreed to a plea deal based on Schneider's enrollment and progress in a treatment program, and an expert's assessment that the risk of him re-offending is low.
When asked why Schneider was not required to register as a sex offender, Grannik told KTVA “that the conduct in the case did not meet the legal requirements of sexual assault charges, even though the assault included sexual elements.”
"I hope it doesn't happen," Grannik said to KTVA. "That's the reason why I made the deal that I've made, because I have reasonable expectations that it will not happen. But I would like the gentleman to be on notice that that is his one pass -- it's not really a pass -- but given the conduct, one might consider that it is."
Judge Michael Corey accepted the deal and says his decision was based on the prospect of rehabilitation. "Mr. Schneider is going to be a member of our community, and he would not be in jail for the rest of his life even if he had been convicted on all of the counts for which he was charged," said Judge Corey. He also told Schneider, "This can never happen again."
KTVA said that when Schneider was offered an opportunity to speak, he offered no apology.
"I would just like to emphasize how grateful I am for this process," Schneider said. "It has given me a year to really work on myself and become a better person, and a better husband, and a better father, and I'm very eager to continue that journey."
As part of the plea, Schneider will serve three years on probation.
Follow Indian Country Today’s associate editor and senior correspondent, Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter -@VinceSchilling
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