Soldotna man charged in rape, beating

Posted: Thursday, February 14, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A 20-year-old Soldotna man has been arrested in connection with the rape and beating of a Soldotna woman earlier this month.

The woman remains on life support at an Anchorage hospital.

Alaska State Troopers arrested Justin A. Starkweather at his home Wednesday. Starkweather was charged with attempted murder, first degree sexual assault and first degree burglary.

The attack took place at the woman's home, where she was found on the afternoon of Feb. 2.

Starkweather was being held without bail at Wildwood Pre-Trial Facility in Kenai Wednesday night.

The victim, whose name was not released, was taken to Alaska Regional Hospital, where she has been undergoing treatment, troopers said.

Her condition initially was improving and was able to respond to questions. But troopers said Wednesday she had taken a turn for the worse. She was unresponsive and on life-support in the intensive care unit, troopers said.

Troopers said the assailant apparently believed he had left his victim for dead.

''He tried to kill her,'' trooper spokesman Tim DeSpain told the Anchorage Daily News. ''It appears as though when he left her residence, he thought she was either dead or was going to die, and made no attempt to keep her from dying. With the injuries she incurred in this, she's very fortunate that she didn't die.''

Investigators with the state Crime Detection Laboratory assisted troopers in collecting evidence at the crime scene.

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