James Weedman sentenced to 55 years for 2020 sexual assault and murder

Anchorage, Alaska (KINY) – On Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, sentencing was held in Dillingham before Superior Court Judge Christina Reigh for State of Alaska vs. James Weedman.

Weedman, 20, was charged with Murder in the First and Second Degree, Sexual Assault in the First Degree, and Evidence Tampering, after he sexually assaulted and murdered a 25-year-old woman in New Stuyahok in August 2020.

In January 2023, Weedman pled guilty by plea agreement to Murder in the Second Degree and a reduced count of Sexual Assault in the Second Degree. Per the agreement, Weedman received a fixed sentence for Sexual Assault in the Second Degree of 15 years in jail with five years suspended, and a 10-year probationary period.

For Murder in the Second Degree, the sentence was partially open to the Court, with an agreed-upon sentencing floor of 40 years to serve, and a cap of 80 years to serve.

At sentencing, Superior Court Judge Reigh remarked upon the seriousness of the offense and the facts of the case, characterizing the crime as “astounding” and “brutal”.  Judge Reigh also commented on the need for rehabilitation given Weedman’s youth and lack of criminal history at the time of the offense. Judge Christina Reigh noted the prevalence of violence against women in Alaska in general, and Bristol Bay in particular, stating that Weedman’s conduct has no place in this state or region.

For Murder in the Second Degree, Judge Reigh sentenced Weedman to 70 years in jail, with 25 of those years suspended for a 15-year probationary period following his release.

Judge Reigh imposed the agreed-upon sentence for Sexual Assault in the Second Degree, sentencing Weedman to 15 years in jail with 5 suspended for a 10-year felony probation period and ruled that the sentence would be served consecutively.

Weedman’s composite active jail term is 55 years.

This case was prosecuted as a joint effort between the Dillingham District Attorney’s Office and the Office of Special Prosecutions. ADA William Vitkus, formerly of the Dillingham District Attorney’s Office, and AAG Sam Vandergaw of the Office of Special Prosecutions, represented the State at sentencing.