Skookum is off the hook for assault

Assault charges against Little Salmon/Carmacks Chief Eddie Skookum were dropped in a Juneau court last Thursday. Skookum was facing jail time for an alleged assault against his girlfriend in a Haines hotel room.

Assault charges against Little Salmon/Carmacks Chief Eddie Skookum were dropped in a Juneau court last Thursday.

Skookum was facing jail time for an alleged assault against his girlfriend in a Haines hotel room, but the prosecution, led by assistant district attorney Amy Williams, decided to drop all but the least serious of charges.

Skookum was found drunk in a pickup truck on the Haines waterfront on July 4, said Haines police chief Gary Lowe at the time.

Police sought Skookum after they found the woman beaten and bloody in the parking lot of the Captain’s Choice Motel, said owner Ed Lapeyri. Their motel room was covered in blood and the door, lamps and furniture were damaged, said Lapeyri.

Skookum was charged with a domestic violence assault felony, a domestic violence assault misdemeanor, driving under the influence and a reckless endangerment misdemeanor charge.

He only pled guilty to the last crime, which is also the only charge Williams pursued on Thursday. She did not provide an argument for dropping the other charges.

Superior court judge Pallen Berg sentenced Skookum for the misdemeanor during the same court hearing. It’s not clear what his sentence is – the Alaskan court records website was down Monday – but he isn’t going to jail, said a source who wished to remain anonymous.

Reckless endangerment misdemeanors “characteristically involve less severe violence against a person” than a felony, according to Alaska law.

The woman involved in the incident is Skookum’s girlfriend, said Darlene Johnson, a councillor with the First Nation, in mid-July.

The victim is from Haines Junction and the pair had been dating for a few years, said Johnson.

Skookum spent several weeks in a Juneau jail until he was released on a $20,000 bail provided by Whitehorse resident Vera Bossenberry in late July.

He refused comment when contacted by cellphone that month.

His lawyer, David Mallet, wouldn’t comment Monday. Williams could not be contacted for comment by press time.

Contact James Munson at jamesm@yukon-news.com.

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