Charges: Woman strangled by air-traffic controller thought she was 'going to die'
The Anchorage air-traffic controller charged with strangling a woman unconscious after he offered her a ride in his vehicle, then masturbating on her, told the victim he did so to be “sexually fulfilled” according to charging documents in the case.
Justin Scott Schneider, 33, was arrested on assault charges in the Tuesday afternoon attack, police said Wednesday afternoon.
A criminal complaint against Schneider, written by APD Detective Brett Sarber, said that the victim had been at the Holiday gas station at Minnesota Drive and Spenard Road, looking for a ride Tuesday toward Muldoon. A man later identified as Schneider pulled up in a white SUV, introduced himself as “Dan” and claimed he knew the victim; he offered her a ride, which she accepted.
“(The victim) said that she had never met the man in her life prior to this encounter, and nothing else about their encounter involved drugs, sex or money, or sex for money,” Sarber wrote.
Instead of heading to Muldoon, the driver said he had to get something from another car and drove to the area of 36th Avenue and Turnagain Street, where they were stopped by road construction. A construction worker in the area later remembered Schneider, the victim and the SUV when police asked about them.
Schneider then stopped the SUV on 36th east of Wisconsin Street, and asked the victim to get out while he loaded items into the vehicle. Once she approached the rear of the vehicle, Sarber wrote, Schneider “full on tackled” her, shoving her to the ground. He then began to strangle her with both hands around her throat, telling her that he was going to kill her.
“She said she could not fight him off, he was too heavy and had her down being choked to death,” Sarber wrote. “(The victim) said she lost consciousness, thinking she was going to die.”
When the victim woke up, she told police, Schneider was rising from her and zipping up his pants. He offered her a tissue, which police later recovered as evidence.
“The man told her that he wasn’t really going to kill her, that he needed her to believe she was going to die so that he could be sexually fulfilled,” Sarber wrote.
The victim said Schneider also let her retrieve her backpack and cellphone from the SUV’s front seat. Sarber said she used the phone to call police and report the vehicle’s license-plate number the moment Schneider drove out of sight.
That license plate led back to Schneider’s white Toyota 4Runner SUV, Sarber said, and the victim’s description of the suspect – a “skinny” white man, slightly over 6 feet high with short blond or reddish hair and a scruffy beard – matched Schneider’s.
Sarber said police visited the victim at the Alaska Native Medical Center to show her a photo lineup including Schneider, whom she identified as her assailant.
“(The victim) made a statement during the lineup similar to, ‘You don’t forget the face of the man who almost killed you,’” Sarber wrote.
Schneider had driven from the scene of the assault Tuesday, police said, to his job at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. He was taken into custody that evening.
Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said Thursday that a man by Schneider’s name works as a controller at the airport’s tower. Gregor declined to discuss further details of Schneider’s work history with the FAA, or his current employment status in light of the criminal case, as “personnel matters.”
Schneider was arrested on a $30,000 warrant for second-degree and third-degree assault as well as harassment. He entered a plea of not guilty at an arraignment Thursday afternoon.
Schneider's attorney and family were present, but declined to comment on the case.
Daniella Rivera contributed information to this story.