Wassillie indicted for double murder, pleads not guilty

Anchorage jury could sentence woman to 99 years per murder charge
A woman charged with killing two men in the Sand Lake area is formally arraigned on charges of first degree murder.
Published: Aug. 1, 2022 at 8:06 PM AKDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A woman charged with killing two men in the Sand Lake area has been formally arraigned on charges of first-degree murder.

Facing arraignment in Superior Court in Anchorage on Monday, 24- year old Brianna Wassillie is accused of killing 36-year-old Travis Sheldon and 34-year-old Gregory Pitka — just hours apart — over the Fourth of July weekend.

On Monday Wassillie sat nervously in an Anchorage courtroom, restlessly moving her arms that were marred with deep scars. Anchorage Superior Court Judge Erin Marston presided over her arraignment. Judge Marston got quickly to the point as Wassillie’s public defender pleaded not guilty to the charges on her behalf and asked the judge for a jury trial.

Judge Marston set Wassillie’s bail at $500,000 with a $500,000 cash performance bond, plus conditions that she have GPS monitoring, a third-party custodian, and drug and alcohol testing. Wassillie is now facing two counts of first-degree murder and misconduct involving a corpse.

On July 3, one of Sheldon’s friends found him bleeding from the head in the woods near West 88th Avenue and Molonary Drive in Anchorage. Sheldon died the next day. While authorities investigated the scene they found an ATM card belonging to Pitka. His body was found behind a dumpster at 3481 West Dimond Boulevard.

Several days later, someone reported finding a plastic container behind the Walmart at 8900 Old Seward Highway. The container held Pitka’s ID and a number of handwritten letters that, authorities say, Wassillie later admitted to writing. In the notes, Wassillie allegedly admitted to committing sodomy with a corpse.

According to police, Wassillie killed Pitka because Pitka wouldn’t steal liquor for her, so she banged his head against the ground and strangled him, then later killed Sheldon by choking him and repeatedly throwing a rock at his head. Authorities included portions of Wasillie’s notes in the complaint.

“My heart isn’t all bad and I believe true care comes from my body,” Wassillie wrote. “I could have let the person fight back more which is true.”

At the arraignment, Judge Marston asked if any family of the victims’ family members would like to make a statement, but only Sheldon’s family was in attendance and they declined. If convicted, Wassillie faces up to 99 years in prison for each murder charge. Her discovery hearing has been set for September 13 and the trial date is set for September 27.

Copyright 2022 KTUU. All rights reserved.