Reed Eide sentenced to 60 years on sex crimes
A Nome man left Superior Court April 27 with the possibility of spending the remainder of his life in prison, for sex crimes.
Alcohol was involved, according to court records.
At a sentence hearing, Judge Romano DiBenedetto ordered Reed Eide to serve 60 years in jail after he pleaded guilty to two of 21 felony charges stemming from alleged unlawful sexual contact with women, whose dwellings he entered during the night. The state dismissed 19 charges.
Eide, 24, has been in custody at Anvil Mountain Correctional Center in Nome following his arrest in January 2017 on alleged sexual assaults, burglaries, concealing evidence and other assaults with bail set at $250,000.
The charges filed in state Superior Court stemmed from alleged unlawful sexual contact with incapacitated women asleep in their bedrooms—assaults ranging from penetration, making substantial steps toward penetration, sexual contact without consent and sexual abuse of a minor, according to public records.
A grand jury that examined 21 witnesses handed up an indictment Jan. 21, 2017, charging Eide on 21 charges on crimes that allegedly occurred in September 2013, March, November and December 2016, and on January 18, 2017. Charging documents said sexual assault related charges occurred against victims who were unaware or incapacitated— 10 sexual assaults or attempted sexual assaults, Class C and Class B felonies. The 21 charges included six counts of burglary for allegedly entering or remaining unlawfully in a dwelling with the intent to commit a crime of sexual assault. All the alleged burglary felonies were Class B felonies. The grand jury also charged Eide on a C felony stemming from an alleged sexual abuse of a minor.
Eide pleaded innocent to all the charges at an arraignment on Feb. 1, 2017. The court provided Eide a public defender.
In November 2017, Eide pleaded guilty in a plea deal to one count of Sexual Assault 2, penetrating an incapacitated victim, a Class B Felony, and one count of Sexual Assault 1, penetration without consent, an unclassified felony.
The remaining charges concern assault causing fear or dangerous injury—one assault a Felony Class A—and a charge on knowingly destroying or concealing evidence— a pair of KLIM boots.
Information filed in court by law enforcement said that victims would awaken in their bedrooms and find Eide in their rooms or sexually assaulting them.
One female victim took a seat before the microphone in the front row of the jury box, to read her statement.
Eide had betrayed their friendship and trust, she said. He had taken advantage of his best friend’s absence to assault her with her two-year-old son sleeping beside her. He did not have her consent. The pain would not go away even if he served 60 years, she told the court.
The victim asked for no leniency for Eide. Less than 60 years would be an insult. She added that it is a hard thing to say, because Eide had been considered a member of the family.
The victim addressed the judge directly: “You have a duty to uphold the law; I have the duty to speak for myself and the women in my community,” she said.
John Earthman, district attorney, said he echoed very much what the victim said. The defendant would likely never be out of prison again. Incarceration would prevent him from committing similar crimes again. Earthman went through Eide’s prior crimes of thefts and assaults. “Mr. Eide won’t victimize anyone outside of prison again,” Earthman said.
Eide never made excuses and accepted responsibility for his crimes, Gary L. Stapp, defense attorney said. He had a substance abuse problem, which is not an excuse, but a way to place the crimes in context, he said.
Before and during the hearing, Eide sat facing forward with eyes straight ahead. His parents did not attend, but he knew people sitting in the courtroom behind him. His attorney appeared via telephone.
When his opportunity came to speak before his sentence was read, he said he wished he could fix the crimes. He did not make bad decisions when he was sober, he said.
“I have no problem with the maximum sentence,” Eide said. Then he broke down. If substance abuse hadn’t happened, he wouldn’t make bad decisions. He had a request for the court. “If you see people come to court with substance abuse problems, get them treatment,” he wept. When he started abusing substances, his life changed, Eide said.
In fashioning a sentence, DiBenedetto said he had to consider the Cheney Criteria, a guideline for sentencing that requires a sentence consider points such as rehabilitation of the victim, deterring the convicted and the community from committing the crime, isolation of the criminal from society.
Nothing he could say would rehabilitate the victims in the case, DiBenedetto said. As for general deterrence among community members against committing such crimes, “the community knows this just isn’t right,” DiBenedetto said.
Specific deterrence was difficult in this case, he said. Usually it was an isolated crime, but in this case there were several victims “preyed on by Mr. Eide.”
A sentence had to be fashioned to keep women safe. The sentence would isolate him to this end. Rehabilitation of Eide was not an aim DiBenedetto saw being successful. Eide had prior probations and paroles revoked, he said.
“At each stage he has told the community he doesn’t intend to follow the law. It is true that substance abuse is a problem in the state and in rural Alaska, but we can’t let it explain predatory conduct,” DiBenedetto said.
He pronounced the following sentence: for the Sex Assault 2, penetration of an incapacitated victim, 35 years with 15 suspended, 20 years to serve; Sex Assault 1, penetration of a victim without consent, 60 years, 20 suspended—40 years to serve. The 20-year and 40-year sentences must be served consecutively, one after another, a total of 60 years. Should there be any release time, Eide would be under all probationary conditions of release for 15 years.