Judge sentences Eacker to 99 years in jail

Posted: Sunday, August 15, 2010

DL was 15 when he raped her.

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Photo By M. Scott Moon
Photo By M. Scott Moon
Judge Anna Moran counted aloud from one to 27 -- once for every time Eacker stabbed his victim -- before sentencing Eacker.

"He grabbed my arms behind my back. He pushed me down on the bed."

DL told him to stop.

"His eyes were very, very angry and wild. I'd never seen anybody like that."

She tried to scream, but he covered her mouth with his hand.

"When it was over, he laid on top of me for quite awhile. He said that if I was to ever tell anybody that he would take me up into the mountains, and I would never see my family again."

DL - she was only identified by her initials - gave the above testimony during Jimmy Eacker's sentencing hearing in Superior Court on Friday. KR - a separate woman - also testified to twice being raped by Eacker.

DL's testimony outlined her 1973 encounter with Eacker. About nine years after raping DL, Eacker brutally murdered Toni Lister.

In March, a jury convicted Eacker, 56, of first-degree murder for the 1982 stabbing death of the Seward woman.

"(Lister) was stabbed with a Phillips screw driver approximately 26 times. Seven in the neck and jaw, 19 in the chest, five of which penetrated her heart, causing death," prosecuting attorney Pat Gullufsen said. "Her body was otherwise bruised and battered and she was drug into the brush, not to be found for a month and a half.

"That is what Jimmy Eacker did."

Superior Court Judge Anna Moran on Friday sentenced Eacker, of Fairbanks, to 99 years in prison - the maximum sentence.

"The defendant had a history and a pattern of abusing women as demonstrated by the vivid and credible testimony of both witnesses," Moran said during her sentencing ruling.

Eacker also had past sexual abuse of a minor convictions.

"They describe a man who preys on the small and the weak and gets away with it," Moran said.

"But not this time."

Before reading her sentencing, Moran counted out loud to 27.

"I just want to take a moment to appreciate the amount of unbridled anger that it takes to stab someone 27 times," Moran said. "One, two, three " she slowly ticked off.

Though counting to 27 took an excruciating amount of time, Lister's death affects her living family for eternity.

"The loss of a loved one is pain that tears the fabric of your heart," Lister's sister, Deborah Davis, said. "But the murder of a loved one also leaves a hole in your soul with anger and bitter hurt for the rest of your life."

The murder also carries incredible loss for the family.

"Jimmy, you took our mother away from us, and you took the ability for us to grow up with her, to learn her values and her beliefs. You took away the ability for her to see her daughters grow into beautiful women," Lister's daughter, Sandra Valladares, said on behalf of all Lister's daughters.

"We will never be able to understand why you would take a mother away from her four children in such a vicious and horrific manner," Valladares said. "Thankfully, you cannot take away the love that we have for her."

David Weber, one of Eacker's defense attorneys, remained committed to his client's innocence. Eacker's lawyers plan to submit a motion for a new trial.

"Unlike most of the time I've ever stood in front of a court making a sentencing argument, I have absolutely no faith that the person you are condemning had anything to do with what you're condemning him for. There's absolutely no benefit to condemning the wrong man," Weber said.

The defense also argued that it's pointless to impose a life sentence on a man no longer physically able to commit heinous crimes.

"The 1982 Jimmy Eacker is long gone. The person that's sitting in front of you today is in absolutely no need of rehabilitation," Weber said.

The 2010 Jimmy Eacker had only one comment.

"I just want to say I'm sorry that Ms. Lister is dead."

Andrew Waite can be reached at andrew.waite@peninsulaclarion.com

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