Teenager who killed bicyclist begins 4-month prison sentence
Alexandra Ellis, a teenager who killed a bicyclist while drunk, was taken into custody at the Nesbett Courthouse today.
Ellis, 18, will serve approximately 123 days, according to Carmen Clark, her attorney. It will be up to the Department of Corrections to calculate the exact sentence.
Ellis pleaded guilty in May 2015 to negligent homicide for running over Dusenbury, who was on a bike, and killing him on a street in South Anchorage after a night of partying. Judge Michael Wolverton sentenced her one year and 10 days in prison.
After killing Dusenbury in 2014, Ellis spent 26 days at Providence Hospital in a crisis stabilization program and 252 days in residential treatment in Eagle River for substance abuse.
Her attorneys successfully argued that she should be allowed to apply the rehab time toward her prison term, reducing the amount of time the teenager would spend behind bars. Her defense team also persuaded the court that Ellis should finish her studies at the University of Alaska Anchorage before heading to jail.
Dusenbury’s widow and daughter, who sat through many court hearings in the case, did not attend today’s brief proceedings during which Ellis was handcuffed and taken away.
“They’re relieved that the sentence has begun, given all the twists and turns in the case. They didn’t have much confidence that this day would ever come,” said Peter Van Tuyn, a spokesman for the Dusenbury family.
Dusenbury’s widow, Melissa Holder, previously told Channel 2 that she felt victimized by what she considered a very light sentence imposed on Ellis.
The Alaska Office of Victim’s Rights also questioned the sentence and asked the judge to reconsider. Attorney Trina Sears, a lawyer with OVA, declined to be interviewed today except to say the judge has not ruled on her request.
Bill Ingaldson, a defense attorney for Ellis, said Dunsenbury’s death was a real tragedy. Now that Ellis has started her prison sentence, “we’re hoping that people can start moving forward,” Ingaldson said.