‘I forgive you, and pray God has mercy on your soul’: Loved ones of 2018 stabbing victim share emotional testimony during hearing

In Anchorage Tuesday, Cheri Ingram’s killer was sentenced to 50 years to serve
Published: Oct. 3, 2023 at 11:03 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A 33-year-old is set to spend decades behind bars after a plea deal and following a sentencing that took place Tuesday morning in Anchorage.

After initial charges of murder in the first and second degrees as well as tampering with physical evidence, Simon Weyiouanna agreed to a plea deal in April of this year, more than five years after the killing of 42-year-old Cheri Ingram, who was stabbed to death in the Turnagain neighborhood after an altercation with Weyiouanna inside his home.

“All of our families have been caught in this cycle,” said Ingram’s cousin, Courtenay Carty, during the sentencing hearing Tuesday, pointing to the deadly acts of violence against Alaska Native women such as Ingram.

“More of us are hurting in other ways than others, and some of us, quite frankly, are better at hiding it.

“How unfortunate it was,” she continued, “for this man to think he had some sort of power within him — which we all know as evil — to think he had the right to take a life.”

Anchorage police officers in 2018 had responded to Weyiouanna’s residence off Wisconsin Street after being called there by good Samaritans who had reported discovering him loading a body, wrapped in sheets, into the back of his vehicle. Police later shared that Weyiouanna had picked Ingram up to bring her to his home after soliciting her for sex.

The two got into an argument at some point, during which Weyiouanna stabbed Ingram multiple times, leading to her death at the scene.

Mark Lopez, a son of Ingram’s, said Tuesday that he and his siblings have faced their own personal struggles since losing their mother — some of those struggles proving deadly over time.

“One of my younger brothers at times spoke of the effects our mother’s life had on him,” he said through tears on Tuesday morning. “In 2021, he overdosed on heroin. The night before he died, he and I had spoken on the phone about how he wished things had been different when she was still alive.

“My mother was not a saint,” he said. “However, she would go out of her way to help people.”

Ingram’s father also spoke briefly during the sentencing, expressing dismay over the loss of his daughter half a decade ago.

“Now, five years later,” he said, “I am looking forward to closure in this matter, and putting my daughter to rest.”

At the end of the hearing, Weyiouanna expressed remorse, apologizing to the family for what he did.

“I do feel very remorseful,” he said. “And I am very sorry.”

Lopez closed with one final remark for Weyiouanna: “I forgive you, and pray God has mercy on your soul.”

The presiding judge formally sentenced Weyiouanna, pursuant to the plea deal agreed upon earlier in 2023, to 75 years with 25 years suspended, meaning 50 years to serve. The sentence Tuesday also included 10 years of felony probation.

Photojournalist Rachel McPherron contributed to this report.