Byron Syvinski Found Guilty on Seven Charges in Little Girl's Beating
Byron Syvinski assaulted Am-Marie Martin in June of 2011
ANCHORAGE – Am-Marie Martin will be 9 years old next month and said she’s looking forward to starting 4th grade.
The little girl’s skull was fractured last summer when 33-year-old Byron Syviniski punched her multiple times while trying to steal her bike, outside of her home in Midtown Anchorage.
After four hours of deliberation, the jury returned Wednesday afternoon with guilty verdicts on all seven counts Syvinski was charged with – including assault and robbery in the first-degree. And they scheduled sentencing for October.
Am-Marie’s mother, Andrea Dunwoody, was relieved.
"I wanted the first-degree, which is the intent to do harm to somebody, and I'm glad they came back and said he was guilty of that, that's the one thing I was worried about them taking off,” said Dunwoody, outside of the courtroom.
Dunwoody said she was happy there were witnesses to testify.
“Very appreciative of them being there, and being able to see what I wasn't able to see for her.”
Dunwoody said she will likely sue both Syvinski and Providence Hospital - which released Syvinski from its psychiatric ward the day before he beat Am-Marie.
Just minutes before Syvinski beat up Am-Marie, he punched Robert Delreal, who lives in the same neighborhood. The jury found Syvinski guilty of 4th-degree assault for that attack.
On the final day of Byron Syvinski's trial, Assistant District Attorney Robert Henderson told the jury Syviniski's choice to get high on bath salts is not an excuse for punching then 7-year-old Am-Marie Martin multiple times.
“At the moment he is standing over Am-Marie, at the moment he pulls his arm back did he have the intent to hit her? Did he have intent to cause physical injury?”
“When he punched Am-Marie, he hit her with such force that it cracked the top of her skull,” said Henderson during his closing argument.
The attack left Am-Marie with brain injury, which she is still recovering from.
Syvinski's attorney, Krista Maciolek, argued her client should be found guilty of assault in the second degree, and not the more serious charge of assault in the first degree.
“It was just simply bad timing on Am-Marie’s part that she was out there by herself,” said Maciolek.
In her closing argument Wednesday, Maciolek urged the jury to consider the definition of a dangerous instrument - which was one of the factors playing into the difference between a first or second-degree assault.
Maciolek argued that Mr. Syvinski's hands do not constitute a dangerous instrument.
“There's no dangerous instrument, there's no weapon, there's nothing more than reckless behavior,” said Maciolek.
But state attorney Rob Henderson said a dangerous instrument is anything that can cause death or serious injury.
“Frankly ladies and gentlemen, when Syvinski's hands, when applied to Am-Marie, are like using two-by-fours.”