Bethel Man Arraigned on Murder Charge After Weekend Stabbing of Girlfriend

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.

A guard appeared with 24-year-old Justine Paul by video from the Yukon Kuskokwim Correctional Center for arraignment on First Degree Murder charges. – Photo by Daysha Eaton/KYUK
A guard appeared with 24-year-old Justine Paul by video from the Yukon Kuskokwim Correctional Center for arraignment on First Degree Murder charges. – Photo by Daysha Eaton/KYUK

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.

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Daysha Eaton is the News Director at KBBI in Homer. Daysha Eaton holds a B.A. from Evergreen State College, and a M.A. from the University of Southern California. Daysha got her start in radio at Seattle public radio stations, KPLU and KUOW. Before coming to KBBI, she was the News Director at KYUK in Bethel. She has also worked as the Southcentral Reporter for KSKA in Anchorage. Daysha's work has appeared on NPR's "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered", PRI's "The World" and "National Native News". She's happy to take assignments, and to get news tips, which are best sent via email. Daysha became a journalist because she believes in the power of storytelling. Stories connect us and they help us make sense of our world. They shed light on injustice and they comfort us in troubled times. She got into public broadcasting because it seems to fulfill the intention of the 4th Estate and to most effectively apply the freedom of the press granted to us through the Constitution. She feels that public radio has a special way of moving people emotionally through sound, taking them to remote places, introducing them to people they would not otherwise meet and compelling them to think about issues they might ordinarily overlook.