Man arraigned for attempted murder

A Nikiski man charged with attempted murder in the first degree was arraigned in Superior Court at Kenai Courthouse Monday.

Joshua Saunders, 34, also faces a second-degree assault charge and a third-degree assault charge.

Public defender Hatton Greer entered pleas of not guilty for all counts against Saunders.

The charges resulted from a June 27 domestic violence 911 call from Saunders’ girlfriend. According to a report filed by Alaska State Troopers, the alleged victim told officers Saunders had strangled and punched her.

When troopers arrived at the Nikiski apartment, Saunders was not there and his girlfriend was wearing a blood-soaked shirt. She was transported to Central Peninsula Hospital.

According to a trooper dispatch, Saunders had fled the apartment building through the basement. Troopers located him in the woods a half a mile from the apartment. He was holding a knife and had cut himself numerous times.

Special Emergency Reaction Team members as well as crisis negotiators responded to the scene, and, after 45 minutes, Saunders threw his knife into the woods and was taken into custody. He was taken to CPH for and treated for his injuries.

Troopers asked the victim about the incident at CPH. She told troopers while Saunders driving back to their apartment, he accused her of having an affair and threatened to kill her while he assaulted her. He punched and strangled her and grabbed her tongue and tried to pull it out during the attack, the report states. Troopers say her injuries — her bloody and swollen face and bruised neck — were consistent with the abuse she described.

The charging report states Saunders told troopers he didn’t remember anything about the incident and later stated “this was only a domestic violence assault.”

Saunders’ next court date is scheduled for Aug. 26. Bail is set at $100,000 cash performance and requires Saunders to be released to a court approved third party custodian.

Saunders is in custody at Wildwood Pretrial Facility.

Kaylee Osowski can be reached at kaylee.osowski@peninsulaclarion.com.

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