No Murder Charge In Fatal Juneau Beating

    JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The man accused of a fatal beating in downtown Juneau will not face a murder charge after an autopsy found the victim suffered from a pre-existing aneurysm that ruptured as a result of the assault.

    A pathologist in Seattle conducted the autopsy and made a preliminary finding that the aneurysm was a contributing factor in 56-year-old Aaron G. Monette's death, The Juneau Empire reported ( ).

    With this evidence, a Juneau grand jury declined on Wednesday to indict 51-year-old David Valentine Evenson on a second-degree murder charge. Instead, he was indicted on counts of manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide.

    Evenson is accused of punching and kicking Monette on June 30 outside the Juneau transit center. Monette died on July 4 at a Seattle hospital.

    Surveillance videos captured Evenson and Monette exchanging words in the downtown transit center before the two walked outside, according to court records. Evenson is then seen rushing at Monette, punching him in the head and kicking him in the face, according to the records.

    Evenson reportedly told a friend afterward that "he didn't even hit the guy hard" and that after Monette fell to the ground "he went to kick him and then saw something happen in the guy's eyes."

    The potential sentence for manslaughter is five to nine years for a first-felony offender. But Evenson has a number of aggravating factors in his criminal history — including 33 prior criminal convictions and assault charges in a 2015 case, which could increase that potential sentence to 99 years.

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