Victim of Soldotna attack in coma

Posted: Sunday, February 17, 2002

KENAI (AP) -- A 20-year-old Soldotna man accused of raping and severely beating a woman remained in custody Friday in lieu of $250,000 dollars cash bail and a court-approved third-party custodian.

Alaska State Troopers arrested Justin A. Starkweather at his home Wednesday. He is being held at the Wildwood Pre-Trial Facility in Kenai.

Troopers said the assailant apparently believed he had left his victim for dead. The attack took place at the woman's Soldotna home, where she was found the afternoon of Feb. 2.

Troopers spokesman Tim DeSpain said the 46-year-old victim remained unresponsive and on life support in the intensive care unit at Alaska Regional Hospital.

Starkweather has been charged with attempted murder, first-degree sexual assault and first-degree burglary. Troopers said he has no prior arrest record.

Starkweather was arraigned Thursday in Kenai.

First-degree sexual assault carries a maximum penalty of 30 years. First-degree attempted murder carries a maximum penalty of 99 years. The burglary charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years and a $50,000 fine.

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

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