Troopers: Wasilla woman killed, husband charged with her murder

Marjorie Gardner of Wasilla had contemplated divorce due to her husband's behavior and reported...
Marjorie Gardner of Wasilla had contemplated divorce due to her husband's behavior and reported substance abuse, according to the investigation into her death. She was shot and killed Sunday.
Published: Apr. 29, 2021 at 12:50 PM AKDT|Updated: Apr. 29, 2021 at 2:52 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Content Warning: This article contains information that might be difficult for some readers.

A Wasilla woman was shot four times at home Sunday night and her husband is charged with her murder, according to Alaska State Troopers.

On that day, close to midnight, 48-year-old Charles Doubek called 911 and told dispatchers his wife had been shot, according to a version of events relayed in an affidavit by Alaska State Trooper investigator Jason Fieser.

Fieser’s account supports a complaint filed by prosecutors charging Doubek with the murder of his wife, 54-year-old Marjorie Gardner.

Gardner was a beloved community member, devoted mother and a part-owner of Hilltop Recycling, a long-standing staple of the Chugiak area, according to her family.

Doubek and Gardner shared a home in a Wasilla neighborhood off of Snowshoe Lane.

According to the affidavit, Doubek, who had reportedly struggled with substance abuse, had been growing increasingly paranoid that his wife was having an affair, and because of his behavior, Gardner had considered divorcing him.

During the initial 911 call, Doubek reportedly had slurred, garbled speech and admitted to shooting his wife, according to the affidavit. When troopers arrived, they found Doubek lying just inside the front door.

A handwritten note laid on a nearby bench with the words “She’s havin an affair proof is in the phone. Couldn’t take it anymore.”

A second note was found among Doubek’s belongings that according to troopers, “discussed possible drug dealers and that one of them was having an affair with his wife.”

According to the affidavit, the couple had separate bedrooms. Doubek slept downstairs. Gardner slept upstairs.

At the scene, troopers found the door handle to Gardner’s bedroom door had been broken off, with damage marks matching the blade of a broken maul found nearby.

Gardner was shot four times, according to the charging documents.

Suzi Pearson, executive director for the Abused Women’s Aid in Crisis shelter in Anchorage, said the decision to split up or leave a relationship can be a particularly dangerous time in the life of a woman experiencing domestic violence.

“Making the decision to leave, to start the processes for divorce or anything like that, that definitely would escalate the situation and increase lethality for that victim,” Pearson said.

When substance misuse and mental health problems are part of the dynamic, it heightens the risk, she said.

“That’s going to escalate things tremendously because when we’re talking about misuse of substances, that inhibition is gone. And so somebody who might have been using emotional abuse and threats and that sort of thing may escalate into more physical violence,” Pearson said.

According to the Violence Policy Center, Alaska ranked number one in murder of women by men in incidents where there were one victim and one offender from 2014 through 2018.

Last week, 23-year-old Darla Velador of Anchorage was stabbed to death. In that case, her father was charged with the killing.

“It’s just really incredibly disheartening,” Pearson said.

After troopers arrived, Doubek was given first aid and taken to a hospital. He has since been released, now in the custody of authorities, and is charged with first- and second-degree murder.

Doubek did not attend his scheduled arraignment Thursday. A corrections officer told the court Doubek was on suicide protocols and unable to participate.

Resources: If you are facing threatened or actual domestic violence, please discreetly call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or Abused Women’s Aid in Crisis in Anchorage at 907-272-0100. If you or someone you know is struggling with a substance use disorder, help is available. Resources can be found by calling Alaska 211 or visiting the State of Alaska’s website to find treatment options. If you are considering suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or Stop Suicide Alaska at 1-877-266-HELP.

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