Palmer woman accused in hit-and-run deaths of son, brother in Metlakatla

FastCast digital headlines for Wednesday, May 3, 2023.
Published: May. 3, 2023 at 12:43 PM AKDT
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METLAKATLA, Alaska (KTUU) - A suspect is facing multiple charges after two people were killed in a hit-and-run in Metlakatla last month, according to an Alaska State Troopers dispatch.

Alecia Henderson, 27, of Palmer, is charged with two counts of second-degree murder, two counts of manslaughter, one count of third-degree assault, one count of driving under the influence, and one count of driving with a canceled, suspended, or revoked license.

Metlakatla police responded to the scene of a hit-and-run crash involving pedestrians just past 1:30 a.m. on April 22.

Troopers said two men and one juvenile were hit by a white SUV on Hillcrest Drive and an officer drove up to the scene right after the crash.

The officer called for help and tried to help the three injured people. All three were taken to the Annette Islands Service Unit’s Emergency Room.

Court documents detail that Alecia Henderson had been in town for several days to attend the funeral of Heather Henderson and a related memorial party. The party was held on the night of April 21 into the morning hours of April 22.

“Alcohol was present, and most — if not everyone — at the party consumed some,” court documents said.

Alecia Henderson was attending the party along with her boyfriend Bryan Aesir, 50, and their 3-year-old son, as well as her 24-year-old brother James T.R. Henderson.

At some point, according to court documents, Alecia Henderson got into a fight with Aesir after he took the keys of a car they were borrowing while in town and gave them to another of Henderson’s sisters at the party. Alecia Henderson allegedly swung at Aesir and was stopped by James Henderson.

Aesir and James Henderson left the house on foot with the child to go to someone else’s home about half a mile away for the night.

While walking up the road, Aesir called Alecia Henderson to see if she had calmed down, but she was animated and yelled at him, court documents said.

A few minutes later, an SUV allegedly driven by Alecia Henderson hit the three while they were walking.

“Video surveillance later collected from cameras attached to Metlakatla’s Elementary and Middle Schools captures audio of two men and a child walking and talking around 1:27 am and shows the white Nissan Pathfinder at approximately 1:35 am travelling towards the location of the men and the child, its headlights and taillights active,” court documents said. “The video further shows the Pathfinder deactivate its lights and then rapidly accelerate towards the unsuspecting victims.”

James Henderson died at the Annette Islands Service Unit Clinic. Alecia Henderson and Aesir’s child was taken from the clinic to Anchorage and died in the early evening hours of April 23. Aesir survived and is “managing his pain,” court documents said.

Officers found the SUV and Alecia Henderson at the home of the person the victims were walking to. Court documents said her speech was “heavily slurred” and she gave varied comments, denying driving but later telling officers she was the only one in the SUV. She was taken to the Annette Islands Service Unit Clinic where blood was drawn to test for alcohol and drugs. Results are pending.

Alecia Henderson was released from investigative hold on the morning of April 22 and Aesir later assisted law enforcement in Anchorage, talking to Alecia Henderson on the phone.

Court documents said Alecia Henderson denied wrongdoing and ultimately hung up on Aesir because she believed he was recording the call.

An arrest warrant for Henderson was issued on May 2. Troopers said police found and arrested Henderson at a residence in Metlakatla.

Henderson was taken to the Ketchikan Correctional Center and held on $250,000 bail.

Henderson is scheduled for a first appearance at the Ketchikan Courthouse on Wednesday afternoon.