Homicide victim's niece to person of interest: Turn yourself in
One of two persons of interests in Anchorage's second homicide of the year remains at large, while the other appeared in court Wednesday afternoon.
Investigators believe 32-year-old Aarron Settje and 48-year-old Carlton Tarkington may have information about the events that led to the death of 33-year-old Kortez Brown, Anchorage Police say.
According to APD, neither of the men are charged in the homicide at this time.
Tarkington was located and arrested on an outstanding warrant by APD's Investigative Support Unit Tuesday.
He appeared in court Wednesday for an arraignment on a domestic violence-related charge of second-degree assault injury with a weapon, a class B felony. According to charging documents in the case, a woman told APD Tarkington hit her in the back of the head with an object back in April of last year.
APD Officer J. Thelen wrote, "I observed about a two-inch laceration on the back of her head that hospital staff advised would need staples."
While the case is unrelated to Brown's death, his niece, Helen Jefferson, watched the arraignment from the gallery, clutching a large photo of her uncle taken during his time in the Air Force.
During the arraignment, Tarkington looked toward Jefferson and said, "I'm so sorry," before he appeared to cry.
Jefferson broke down in tears, saying, "I don't know who to believe."
When asked why she chose to attend the hearing in Anchorage's Jail Court, Jefferson said, "I wanted to come here and see his face. I want him to see my face. I want him to know that Kortez had family and friends and loved ones that cared about him deeply."
Tarkington interrupted court proceedings several times during his arraignment, once to tell the judge he had turned himself in, rather than being caught by police.
APD confirmed Wednesday afternoon that statement was not accurate.
The judge asked for an explanation for the eight-month delay in Tarkington's court appearance, as the felony warrant for the case was issued in April. The Assistant District Attorney present told him there had been a request to try to locate him in July.
With limited information about where the victim in the domestic violence case lives now and what Tarkington has been up to since August, the judge set bail and ordered the Department of Corrections supervise his release. He further restricted Tarkington to house arrest, with passes for work and medical emergencies only, and no contact with the victim.
Outside of the courtroom, Jefferson broke down in tears, unable to forget seeing her uncle during his last moments in the hospital.
"Just watching my uncle bleed out the way he did, and the way he fought for his life for 12 hours, that's not fair to him and that his children had to see that."
She described her Brown as a gentle man, a loving father, a Veteran and a former employee of both Providence Hospital and the DOC. Jefferson said he leaves behind five children, the youngest of them 2 months old.
"I just wish that maybe the community could help us find the other guy," she said, referring to Settje.
"If someone sees him or anything, please call the police. I want him to be found [...] He needs to turn himself in."
Police warn that Settje is wanted on two unrelated felony warrants for theft and assault and ask residents not to approach him.
Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to contact APD at (907) 786-8900 or to stay anonymous call Crime Stoppers at (907) 561-STOP.
The family has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for Brown's funeral costs.
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