Charges have been brought against a driver who allegedly stabbed another man in a road rage incident on July 17 in Sitka.

The assailant will likely make a claim of self-defense.

59-year old Robert L. Alderman, Jr. is facing one count of Assault in the First Degree, for allegedly stabbing a 4-inch folding knife into the neck of 61-year old Arthur Eels during an altercation at one of Sitka’s two stoplights, at the intersection of Halibut Point Road and Katlian Drive.

According to the criminal complaint, a police officer was present and patrolling Sitka’s skate park, when he witnessed two men fighting in the street nearby during a red light. The two men were locked together, with their arms wrapped around each other. When the officer approached the men and ordered them to stop, one of the men reportedly yelled, “He’s got a knife in my back.”

The officer physically separated the men, and discovered that Eels had a knife plunged into his body up to the hilt, just below his neck and above his left shoulder.

In the subsequent investigation, police report that the alleged victim, Eels, was driving behind Alderman, and did not like the way the defendant was allegedly “brake-checking.” Eels stopped his vehicle behind Alderman’s at the light, got out and approached the driver’s door on Alderman’s vehicle. In the criminal complaint, police characterize the ensuing fight as “road rage.”

Eels was transported by ambulance to Mt. Edgecumbe Medical Center, and subsequently medevaced to Seattle for further care.

Alderman was arrested, arraigned, and subsequently released on $25,000 bail. His next court appearance is August 5.

Assault in the First Degree is a Class A felony. If convicted, the defendant could face a minimum of 7 years in prison, and a maximum of 11 years.

During a preliminary hearing on July 18, the state prosecution dismissed the idea that road rage is a mitigating factor in the incident. Rather, prosecutors argued that as a registered nurse working at Mt. Edgecumbe Medical Center, Alderman would likely be aware that stabbing a 4-inch knife blade into someone’s neck could be fatal. Alderman’s defender, however, advised the court that his client would be filing a self-defense claim.

Alderman has one prior arrest for assault 18 years ago, however he was found not guilty.

The Sitka Grand Jury indicts two

In other recent activity in the Sitka Superior Court, 22-year old Terrance Roth was indicted in June on four felony counts of theft for allegedly stealing a VISA card and using it to make several purchases, as well as stealing a Washington State driver’s license.

According to court records, the defendant rented a room at Eagle Bay Inn in Sitka in late May using the stolen credit card, and ordered a meal from Pizza Express that evening using the same card.

The next day, the defendant allegedly attempted to make a purchase at Highliner Coffee, but the card was declined.

Surveillance video from the coffee shop recorded the failed transaction, and a witness was able to identify Roth by name.

Police obtained a warrant to search the room at Eagle Bay Inn, and officers found the victim’s wallet, Washington State driver’s license, and other credit cards in the defendant’s backpack.

Court records indicate that Roth was on release and awaiting trial on similar charges in a separate case.

Roth’s next court appearance is scheduled for August 17. His trial is set for September 6. He is currently on supervised release.

Another defendant, 58-year old Beverly R. Dexter, was indicted in June on one felony count of Vehicle Theft in the First Degree, for an incident that occurred in January.

According to court records, police were summoned to a home on Alice Island at around 3:30 a.m. on January 23, where a vehicle theft was reportedly in progress. The caller said that her truck had been entered and started, and moved behind her SUV. The caller said she saw the person remove something from the SUV and move it to the truck.

Responding officers found Dexter behind the wheel of the truck, with the engine running, and the vehicle in reverse. She reportedly told officers that she was a “Secret Service Agent” with “information of national security importance.” She also claimed to own the home at which the truck was parked – which proved to be untrue.

Dexter was arraigned and released on $500 bail. Court records indicate that she was on release from a separate case involving disorderly conduct charges.

A competency hearing has been scheduled in September. A trial has been set in October.