Pair faces multiple felonies on contract rape charges
Two Saint Michaels residents accused of contracting a sex assault on a Saint Michaels man are back to square one in the resolution of their cases.
Austin Matthias, 24, faces six felony charges — four counts of Sex Assault 1, Penetrating without Consent, against another male resident of Saint Michael on April 17, all unclassified felonies. Additionally, he faces one count of Assault 1, Serious Injury with Intent, a Class A Felony, and Burglary 1—entered or remained unlawfully in a dwelling with intent to commit a crime, a Class B Felony. The District Attorney subsequently dismissed the burglary charge and one Assault 1 charge.
The grand jury convened in June also indicted Julia Haworth, who allegedly asked Matthias to commit the assaults in exchange for a bottle, on one count of intent to cause another to engage in conduct constituting the crime of Sexual Assault in the First Degree, the defendant solicited that person to engage in that conduct, an unclassified felony.
Haworth was likewise indicted on one count of Sex Assault 2, Contact without Consent, a Class B Felony.
The victim went to sleep in his bedroom on April 16 and awoke to Austin Matthias walking into his bedroom, according to investigation by Alaska State Trooper Aileen Witrosky. Matthias punched the victim in the face and knocked him unconscious. The next day, a forensics exam confirmed the sexual assault on the victim.
Both defendants have been in custody since their arrest. Both pleaded innocent of the charges at their arraignments.
A change of plea hearing scheduled for the pair on May 10 went awry when Mathias notified his attorney, Mathew A. Tallerico, that he had changed his mind just before the hearing and wished to undergo a trial rather than entering a plea deal.
At the May 10 hearing, Haworth would plead guilty to soliciting Sex Assault 2, the lesser charge, which would bring her at sentencing eight years’ prison with three years suspended and 10 years’ probation. Additionally, she would have to register as a sex offender for 15 years following her release. Sentencing was set for Sept. 7 following the court’s receipt of a pre-sentence report.
Matthias’ case came up next.
Tallerico attended the hearing by telephone, as did Haworth’s attorney, Robert J. Campbell.
“A change of plea was scheduled, but Mr. Matthias called just before court and told me he wants a trial,” Tallerico told the court.
Assistant District Attorney Tom Jamgochian’s reaction was that there was no plea arrangement unless both defendants agreed.
There had been e-mails and phone calls, Tallerico told the court, but he did not have the same idea about the agreement.
“Both have to accept the agreement is my view, or there is no agreement,” Jamgochian said.
He would have to see exhibits, briefs and motions filed, Judge Romano DiBenedetto said.
The attorneys and court were hashing out a date when Matthias spoke up.
“I’m wondering if I can take the deal,” Matthias asked the court.
DiBenedetto set another hearing for the next morning, May 11, to allow attorneys time to discuss the cases with their clients.
The next morning, Matthias agreed once more to the plea arrangement, according to court staff. However, Jamgochian, district attorney, pronounced the agreement dead. Therefore, the case processes begin over again. The clock on Rule 45 started running again on May 11. Rule 45 requires processing the case to conclude within 120 days.
Court documents show an omnibus hearing for Haworth and Matthias on June 29.