Brother of murder suspect accused of cleaning up West Anchorage crime scene
Three family members are facing charges in a string of crimes that include torturing and killing a woman, then trying to cover up the tracks.
Thursday, 28-year-old Connor Stefano appeared in court for his arraignment on charges of tampering with evidence and hindering prosecution. His defense attorney Wallace Tetlow told the judge Stefano contacted him the same night police discovered 30-year-old Jacqueline Goodwin’s deceased, mutilated body in the back of a Subaru his brother, Benjamin Wilkins, was driving when he crashed on Debarr Road.
Court documents outline what prosecutors are calling “horrific” facts about what Wilkins allegedly did to Goodwin in the basement of his family’s West Anchorage home. Wilkins is accused of tying her up, tearing off pieces of her skin with pliers, shooting, and strangling her, court documents say.
They also say his mother, Jacqueline Stefano, heard the commotion but called Connor instead of police. Connor told police he heard the noise and went into the basement once it stopped, but didn’t see his brother or Goodwin there, so he started to clean up the bloody mess left behind with clorox — actions his attorney says don’t implicate him in a murder.
“He went down to the basement, saw blood and cleaned up the blood. There’s no evidence, whatsoever, that Mr. Stefano knew that he was cleaning up the site of a homicide at all,” said Tetlow.
The state prosecutor responded: “It’s a bunch of blood in the basement, there has to be some at least sense that something’s awry. And if you’re just cleaning up blood in the basement for no other reason than that there’s blood in the basement, to suggest that he couldn’t have considered or at least asked somebody what this is about that seems preposterous to me.”
Tetlow told the judge he plans to enter a not guilty plea for Connor Stefano.
In addition to the details of the way Goodwin died, the court documents say, police found more than $125,000 in cash and more drugs than many officers see in their careers, during a search of the property.
Jacqueline Stefano is also charged with hindering prosecution and with misconduct involving a controlled substance. Online court records show she has not been arraigned, but is out on bail.
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