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Dillingham man allegedly fought with officers before arrest on Manokotak assault charges

November 10th, 2017 | Dave Bendinger, KDLG Print this article   Email this article  

Reece Johnson, 22, of Dillingham, appeared in court Friday as he faced a host of charges that could put him behind bars for several years.

Johnson was arrested Thursday, but not till after he allegedly brawled with a handful of law enforcement officers at his mother's home in HUD housing. Trooper Young, DPD chief Dan Pasquariello and officer Craig Maines, plus wildlife trooper Joe Wittkop and probation officer Rex Spofford all went to pick up Johnson in connection with the brutal Manokotak assault. Johnson was allegedly high on meth, and before he was finally handcuffed he had allegedly bit both Young and Pasquariello, smashed Pasquariello's hand in the door, broke Young's glasses, and punched Maines in the face.

Hours after his arrest, Pasquariello said he received a call from the jail.

"We have an issue with one of the inmates," the dispatcher said.

Johnson had allegedly punched out the window in his cell, Young said in his sworn affidavit.

Based on prior assault convictions, the young man racked up four felony assault charges for fighting with the officers.

He is also facing a more serious second-degree assault charge from an incident on Oct. 20 in Manokotak, which Young investigated. Johnson was allegedly in the village "selling alcohol door-to-door," and the victim, a 26-year-old man, let Johnson and his girlfriend Josephine Decker, stay at his house.

The Manokotak man allegedly was choked and beat over the head with a piece of lumber. Five days later, Young still found plenty of visible wounds on the victim, and blood spattered on the walls.

"The strangulation and choking came from Reece, and getting hit was done by Josephine," he wrote.

Johnson has an extensive criminal history. In the past two years alone he has been charged with shooting a man and helping steal more than a dozen firearms.

In May of 2016, Johnson allegedly shot Isiah Thompson in the back, but Thompson refused to testify against him. The state prosecutor accepted a plea for one count of misdemeanor assault, and Johnson was released in September.

Weeks later, he was allegedly involved with the theft of more than a dozen guns out of a Dillingham house. The last of the group of young men to face justice, Johnson was arrested in Anchorage in January, and by March took a plea on a theft charge.

Prior to SB 91, Johnson would have faced up to two years in jail for that class C felony conviction. Under SB 91, however, the maximum sentence was 18 months of "suspended" jail time. (The aggravated nature of the offense bought him two months behind bars.)

In May, he allegedly broke into the Einhellig home and beat up several people. This violated his probation in the gun theft case. In August he violated his probation a second time for failing a treatment program, and under SB 91 guidelines Johnson was given the max five days back in jail. Prior to SB 91, a judge could have imposed any amount of the remaining 16 months of suspended jail time for either violation.

Lawmakers in Juneau are hoping to fix some of Senate Bill 91's leniencies, including with class C felonies and violations of probation. Some, including one of SB 91's original sponsors, are calling for its full repeal.

Reece Johnson was ordered held on $30,000 cash performance bail Friday.


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