Juan Camarena

Juan Camarena

PALMER — Juan Camarena, 51 was arraigned at the Palmer Courthouse Tuesday, Nov. 26 for five charges that included sexual assault in the first degree, sex trafficking in the first degree and assault in the third degree.

“I’d like enter a plea of not guilty.” Camarena said during the arraignment hearing. “I don’t know nothing about these charges.”

Palmer Judge William Estelle asked Camarena if he had an attorney and he did not. Estelle asked Camarena if he wanted to apply for one and he said yes. Estelle proceeded to ask Camarena about his financial situation including source of income, real estate and assets.

“I don’t have no cars, no vehicles, nothing,” Camarena said.

Estelle said the case is assigned to Judge John Cagle. No bail was set so the state requested a $250,000 cash appearance and $250,000 cash performance bond. The state claimed that Camarena was a “danger to the community,” new to Alaska and recently released from prison with 12 prior felonies in California.

Camarena is accused of sexually assaulting a person in a camper involving an “exchange for controlled substances,” according to court documents.

Camarena has been designated as a person of interest in the investigation of the murder of three Valley residents whose bodies were found within days of each other. He was initially wanted for questioning in the investigations of the deaths of Michael Attwood, 25; Donna Marie Campos, 37; and Alyssa Jimenez, 28. Attwood and Campos were found dead off Knick Knack Mud Shack Road. Jimenez was later found dead near Mile 10 of Knik-Goose Bay Road. The deaths of Attwood and Campos were confirmed Nov. 3. Jimenez’ body was found Nov. 5.

He was recently taken into custody on an unrelated arrest warrant regarding federal charges.

Camarena’s next court appearance is a pretrial conference Dec. 27 at 8:30 a.m. at the Palmer Courthouse.

Contact Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman reporter Jacob Mann at jacob.mann@frontiersman.com

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