On Friday, a judge sentenced 24-year-old Colten Zaukar, of Sleetmute to spend what could be rest of his life behind bars for a violent 2012 rape. Bethel Superior Court Judge Charles Ray sentenced Zaukar to 61 years, with another 10 years suspended.
“There is good reason to isolate Mr. Zaukar for a substantial period of time, both for the safety of the community, the safety of the particular victim in this case and hopefully some deterrence to himself and others in his community and particularly to me the condemnation of the conduct involved,” Ray said.
Zaukar will be required to serve at least 55 of those years.
In June, a Bethel jury found Zaukar guilty on 10 counts in the case. Zaukar was found guilty on several sexual assault charges, kidnapping and assault. The jury found him not guilty of attempted murder and one sexual assault charge.
Court documents say that at about 2:00 a.m. on September 26, 2012, Zaukar broke down a door with an ax. He came back disguised in a blanket and attacked a woman. Authorities say he pushed her on a dark trail and raped her near the river. A family member later helped Zaukar hide for two-and-a-half days from troopers.
The victim of Zaukar’s attack spoke over the telephone at his sentencing saying she did not want him out of jail while she was still alive. The prosecuting attorney called Zaukar a sociopath with little hope for rehabilitation. The defense attorney argued his client has been diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. He noted outside court that there are questions about the jury makeup in the case and an appeal is possible.
Sleetmute is around 150 miles miles northeast of Bethel and has approximately 100 residents.
A 2012 Alaska State Troopers report says the rate of sex crimes in Western Alaska is the highest in the state.