Manokotak man charged with two counts of murder

Posted: Friday, August 31, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- A Manokotak man has been charged with killing a teen-age girl and another village man last winter.

William Yohak, 23, was charged Wednesday with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Roxanne Moore, 14, and William Tikiun, 31, both of Manokotak, a community of about 400 in southwest Alaska 25 miles west of Dillingham.

Yohak also is charged with sexual abuse of a minor and evidence tampering.

Troopers say Tikiun was found dead of a gunshot wound to his head at about 11:30 p.m. Feb. 7 on a couch in his living room. A .22-magnum revolver was found at his side and investigators at first suspected he may have committed suicide.

Five days later, searchers discovered Moore's body hidden under debris in the village landfill. The teen-ager had been missing for 10 days and was the subject of an intense search. She was last seen Feb. 2 at Yohak's house.

She also died of a .22-magnum gunshot wound and investigators say Yohak has admitted to both killings.

The motive for Tikiun's death was not apparent from charging documents.

''We believe we know the motive but it's not something we're releasing to the public at this time,'' said Dillingham assistant district attorney John Skidmore.

Yohak was arraigned Thursday in Dillingham District Court. He is being held on $200,000 cash-only bail, Skidmore said.

The arrest follows an investigation that took more than a thousand hours by Alaska State Troopers, the Manokotak village public safety officer, Manokotak tribal police, the state medical examiner, the state crime lab and the Anchorage Police Department.

The Manokotak Search and Rescue Team discovered a human arm sticking up out of debris and snow in the city dump Feb. 12. Roxanne Moore's mostly nude body showed evidence of a sexual assault. Small hemorrhaged spots found in her eyes and marks on her neck indicated she had been strangled but medical examiners determined she had been killed by a gunshot wound to the head.

According to charging documents, Yohak gave conflicting answers to investigators who questioned him about the deaths.

Yohak initially told authorities that he knew nothing about the girl's disappearance. However, after a lie-detector test and a search that revealed Moore's blood in his home and shed, Yohak claimed Tikiun had brought Roxanne Moore's dead body to his home in the middle of the night of Feb. 5. Investigators say Tikiun was with his wife that night.

Yohak also claimed that he had seen Tikiun chasing the girl down a village street and later heard a gunshot. However, according to charging documents, Yohak revealed information that investigators said only the killer would have known, including the exact location of the gunshot wound.

Yohak also said initially that he had not touched the body but later admitted dragging the girl's body by the wrist from his kitchen to the arctic entryway. He also admitted cleaning up blood in the house.

Using chemical enhancers, investigators found blood stains on Yohak's kitchen wall and arctic entryway, indicating Moore had been shot in the home's arctic entryway.

On Wednesday, Yohak admitted he killed the girl but said it was an accident. He also claimed Tikiun was at Yohak's home the night the girl was shot.

In charging documents, Skidmore said Tikiun was in the custody of the Manokotak public safety officer the day Moore was killed.

Tikiun was found shot in the temple as he lay in a fetal position on his right side on the couch in his living room. A revolver lay on the floor below his left hand. Tikiun was right-handed.

The revolver matched a description of a handgun Yohak had shown people in January and February but later claimed was stolen before Moore and Tikiun died.

Tikiun was found dead about 10 to 15 minutes after Yohak was seen leaving Tikiun's home. The last person to see Tikiun alive, other than Yohak, told investigators that Tikiun was passed out on the couch in the same position in which his dead body was found.

Yohak admitted to killing Tikiun as Tikiun lay on his couch asleep.

Skidmore said Yohak will be transferred from the Dillingham jail to the Cook Inlet Pre-trial Facility in Anchorage to await trial.

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