WASILLA — A total of six people have been arrested for their alleged involvement in a gruesome attack on a couple that affected other neighbors and ultimately led to the death of an unborn child.
Peter Williams, 32; Darin Smith, 26; and Andre Franklin, 41 were the first three suspects indicted by the Palmer Grand Jury Dec. 13. Abigail V. Thomas, 20; Dhamma Karuna, 42; and Erick Hodgins, 40, all of Anchorage were also indicted.
All six suspects are facing numerous felony charges including first-degree assault, attempted murder, kidnapping, robbery, misconduct involving a weapon, and the murder of an unborn child.
Alaska State Troopers received a report of gunshots that led to injuries inside a neighborhood near Hollywood and Sylvan in the Knik Goose Bay area at 9:26 p.m. Dec. 5, according to court documents. Troopers were also notified that three men were seen walking away from the crime scene holding what appeared to be weapons and one of them was wearing a ski mask.
When troopers arrived on the scene, they discovered three people injured during the incident. The injured victims were transported to Mat-Su Regional Medical Center. One of the victims reportedly suffered life threatening injuries.
Two of the victims, a couple (referred to as DW and BB) were renting a room within a house owned and occupied by Williams, according to court documents. DW and BB were attempting to help Williams through a “rough time with the house.”
About a week prior to the incident, the couple decided to move out due to William’s erratic and unpredictable behavior. The day of the crime, they came to the house to pick up their belongings. There was a gold Chevrolet Tahoe backed up to the door at the rear entrance.
The couple entered through the rear entrance and they were confronted by Smith, Franklin, Williams, an unknown white female with glasses and an unknown male with a shaved head, according to court documents.
Smith, adorned with facial tattoos immediately pointed his pistol directly on DW’s forehead, ordering him to get on the ground while Franklin, armed with a shotgun grabbed BB “pretty rough,” according to the investigation.
When DW turned in an attempt to get Franklin to leave BB alone, Smith struck him across the face with his pistol and told him to get on the ground. DW refused and received another pistol whipping.
The couple was forced onto a couch and asked where the “stuff” was. Williams told Franklin and Smith that someone stole a “bunch of stuff” from him. None of the suspects told the couple what exactly this stolen “stuff” was. DW presumed Williams owed Smith and Franklin something Williams pinned it on them.
Smith told Williams that they would “get them to take us to the stuff” and DW still had no idea what they were talking about. Smith pistol whipped DW across the face again during the back and forth. Smith also held a knife to his throat, cutting his chin.
The unknown female restrained BB who was getting “loud at that point.” DW got up to try and stop them from hurting BB but was struck once more across the face with a pistol and pushed back down onto the couch, according to the documents.
One of the suspects covered DW’s head so he couldn’t see and bound his hands and feet with tape. DW was struck again on the side of the head and almost knocked unconscious. He pretended to be knocked out as Smith and Franklin pressed Williams about the “stuff.” Williams repeatedly told them, “I know they got it.”
BB became frantic due to her restrained state. When DW heard the sound of her being taped up, he got up and charged the assailants to no avail. He was picked up and slammed onto the ground, where he was kicked repeatedly all over his body and head.
DW was eventually dragged out and tossed into the back of Williams’ gold Tahoe. The unidentified male kept watch and told DW to “just play it cool and everything will pan out,” and people “gotta’ pay debts.”
When Smith came outside, DW asked him for a blanket due to the cold. Smith replied by saying, “you will meet your maker soon.” Smith ripped a necklace off DW that contained his brother’s ashes, saying “you will see your brother soon.”
Franklin and Smith grew tired of watching DW because of the cold. DW seized the opportunity, freeing himself and escape the vehicle. He ran to the next door for help. Smith saw DW and chased him, firing several rounds at, missing DW but grazing a sleeping neighbor in the head.
Franklin admitted to being present with the shotgun and wearing a ski mask, claiming that he didn’t participate outside shutting DW in the back of the Tahoe. Franklin told Troopers the whole thing was “William’s idea.”
Troopers arrested Williams, Smith and Franklin who were walking on an ATV trail off West Hollywood and South Vale Avenue, which was close to the crime scene.
One of the victims injured during the assault was pregnant. Her baby died as a result of the injuries. The Grand Jury added murder of an unborn child to the list of charges.
Troopers ran criminal history checks through the Alaska Public Safety Network and found that Smith had three felony convictions for third degree assault with a weapon, failure to stop, and escape of official detention. Franklin has two felony convictions for manslaughter and causing fear of injury with a weapon.
Smith, Williams and Franklin have all been arraigned at the Palmer Courthouse. Thomas, Karuna and Hodgins are scheduled to be arraigned Monday, Dec. 23.
Contact Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman reporter Jacob Mann at firstname.lastname@example.org