ANCHORAGE, Alaska – A man in Anchorage, Alaska, pleaded guilty to assaulting a woman who said he strangled her unconscious and sexually assaulted her.
The man then walked out of court with no prison sentence.
“But I would like the gentleman to be on notice that this is his one pass,” prosecutor Andrew Grannik said in court Wednesday, KTVA reported. “It’s not really a pass, but given the conduct, one might consider that it is.”
Justin Schneider, 34, was accused of kidnapping and assaulting the woman on August 15, 2017, strangling her until she lost consciousness and then masturbating on her, court documents show.
Grannik said Schneider had lost his job as an air traffic controller for the federal government as a result of the case. Grannik said that was a “life sentence,” according to KTVA.
The criminal complaint said the victim, who did not know Schneider, told police she was at a gas station when he offered to give her a ride. The woman, who was attempting to get to her boyfriend’s home, accepted. Schneider then drove the victim to another location and attacked her, she said.
At one point, Schneider told the victim he would kill her if she screamed, the complaint alleged.
“She said she could not fight him off, he was too heavy and had her down being choked to death,” the complaint said. “(The victim) said she lost consciousness, thinking she was going to die.”
When the victim woke up, she told police, “The man told her that he wasn’t really going to kill her, that he needed her to believe she was going to die so that he could be sexually fulfilled,” the complaint says.
The victim recorded the plate number of Schneider’s car as he drove off and she reported it to police.
‘This can never happen again’
Schneider was charged with four felonies, including kidnapping and assault. He pleaded guilty to a single felony assault charge in the second degree in exchange for a sentence of two years with one suspended, plus three years probation. Schneider received credit for time served while wearing an ankle monitor and living with his wife and two children.
“I would just like to emphasize how grateful I am for this process,” Schneider said, not mentioning the impact on the victim, KTVA reported. “It has given me a year to really work on myself and become a better person, and a better husband, and a better father, and I’m very eager to continue that journey.”
Judge Michael Corey accepted the deal, noting the outcome of the case could be described as “breathtaking.” He said his decision was based on the prospect of rehabilitation.
He also told Schneider, “This can never happen again.”
The victim was not in court.
Grannik said he tried to tell her about the hearing but could not reach her.