A man accused of killing his girlfriend in Bethel over the weekend was arraigned today.
24-year-old Justine Paul appeared by video from the Yukon Kuskokwim Correctional Center.
Judge Bruce Ward asked him if he understood the charges:
“Do you understand what the charges are against you Mr. Paul?” said Ward.
“Yes,” said Paul
“Murder in the First Degree – possible penalty range up to 99 years in jail and up to a $500-thousand dollar fine, do you understand?” said Ward.
“Yes,” said Paul.
“There’s a minimum of 20 years, do you understand that?” said Ward.
” … What?” said Paul.
“A minimum of 20 years if you are convicted, do you understand?” said Ward.
“Alright,” said Paul.
Court documents filed by the Bethel Police Department, describe a gory scene along a boardwalk at a community park where his girlfriend, 23-year-old Eunice Whitman, was found stabbed to death early Sunday morning. Investigators say a witness saw Paul with blood on his clothing.
During his arraignment, Paul said he was released from jail in January. An attorney with the state noted that Paul was convicted in 2010 of attempted sexual assault in the second degree and that he had three probation violations since then. He asked for bail to be set at $500-thousand dollars. Judge Ward agreed and set a preliminary hearing date for Paul on June 5th in Bethel.
Family members of Whitman appeared in court to witness the arraignment, but a spokesperson for the family said they did not want to make a statement to the media at this time.