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Man charged with murder in fatal stabbing at Fairbanks motel

A man has been arrested and accused of fatally stabbing another man early Monday morning at a motel in Fairbanks, police say.
Published: Apr. 11, 2022 at 4:05 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A man has been arrested and accused of fatally stabbing another man early Monday morning at a motel in Fairbanks, police say.

Fairbanks police officers were called to the Super 8 Motel on Airport Way around 4:15 a.m. Monday. According to a press release from the Fairbanks Police Department, motel staff reported a “disturbance” between some of the guests there. While officers were on their way to the motel, a report came in that a man had been stabbed, police said.

Jesse James Sanderson, 32, was subsequently arrested and, according to the charging document in the case, faces one count of second-degree murder.

When officers got to the scene, they were flagged down by Sanderson, according to the press release. According to a probable cause statement signed by Detective Andrew Adams, Sanderson and officers gave emergency aid to 32-year-old Jonathon Gustafson, who had been stabbed in the chest and was found on the sidewalk outside the building. He was taken to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, but later died from his injuries, police said.

According to probable cause statement, Sanderson told police that Gustafson had “thrown the knife at him, hitting him in the face,” and that he then picked the knife up and stabbed Gustafson. According to police, that wasn’t consistent with statements given by witnesses, including Gustafson’s girlfriend who was at the motel.

She told police that the knife had belonged to Sanderson, not Gustafson, according to the statement. Officers also didn’t find any visible injuries on Sanderson’s face.

Another witness, a clerk at the motel, told police they saw Sanderson “enter the hotel, jump over the counter of the reception desk, then jump back to the lobby” before exiting the building and stabbing Gustafson in the side, according to the probable cause statement.

According to the press release from Fairbanks police, Sanderson was acquainted with Gustafson and his girlfriend, and they had been “hanging out together” at the motel on Sunday night. Officers had also contacted Sanderson several hours before the stabbing, they said, because he made a report that another person had stolen from him.

During that contact, officers seized a firearm and pocket knife from Sanderson “for safekeeping,” police said. The person Sanderson had accused of stealing from him earlier in the night was not present during the stabbing incident early Monday morning.

Sanderson was taken into custody at the Fairbanks Correctional Center. He is scheduled to be arraigned on Tuesday afternoon.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated with additional information.

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