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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

District of Alaska

For Immediate Release

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Karen L. Loeffler, United States Attorney

Contact: Jennifer Lotz, Public Information Officer
(907) 271-5071

Manokotak Felon Sentenced to 59 Months in Prison for Possessing Firearm

Anchorage, Alaska — U.S. Attorney Karen L. Loeffler announced today that a Manokotak man was sentenced in federal court in Anchorage for one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Russell Whitley, 25, from Manokotak, Alaska, was sentenced today by Chief U.S. District Court Judge Ralph R. Beistline, to 59 months in prison. Whitley’s federal sentence will run concurrent with a sentence of ten years in prison handed down by the State of Alaska for convictions of sexual assault in the second degree and assault in the third degree in case 3DI–11–236 CR.

According to information presented in support of sentencing by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kelly Cavanaugh, in July 2011, Whitley got into an argument with his brothers inside a cabin in the fishing village of Igushik, Alaska, the argument continued outside the cabin when Whitley retrieved a shotgun and fired one round at one of his brother’s feet and then hit the same brother in the head with stock of the shotgun. After the altercation with his brother, Whitley left the area on a 4 wheeler. Whitley then entered another cabin and sexually assaulted a female while still in possession of the shotgun. Alaska State Troopers responded to Igushik and took Whitley into custody; they found him hiding in a hole in the tundra while in possession of the shotgun and several shotgun shells.

Judge Beistline expressed concern that Whitley would eventually be released from prison and return to the same community without addressing his problems with alcohol.

Ms. Loeffler commends the Alaska State Troopers and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives for the investigation that led to the successful prosecution of this case.