Life sentence for Anchorage man in kidnapping, shooting of 2 brothers

An Anchorage man has been sentenced to life in prison for shooting two men before leaving them to die on a secluded road outside Palmer in 2016.

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Matthew James Scharber, 36, pleaded guilty in December to kidnapping, carjacking and using a gun in the furtherance of a violent crime. Federal prosecutors say Scharber and his accomplices attacked the two victims, who are brothers, after they stole Scharber’s wallet.

Prosecutors also allege Scharber dealt methamphetamine, which he’s indicted for in a separate case. According to court documents, Scharber wanted to, “protect his business” and “make it known in the neighborhood that he would take care of his own problems.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Will Taylor argued the case.

“Mr. Scharber did everything necessary to complete a homicide,” Taylor said.

The court documents say Scharber lured the two men, who are only identified by their initials, to his apartment in October of 2016. Scharber’s co-defendants, Corey Sylva and Michael Elder, bound the victims with speaker wire and beat them. Prosecutors say they loaded the victims into their own Subaru Legacy, and Scharber drove them to Hatcher Pass.

Prosecutors say Scharber forced the men out of their car and shot each of them three times. According to a sentencing memorandum in the case, they only survived because Scharber had used the wrong caliber ammunition and the cold weather slowed their bleeding. A passerby spotted them hours later, and the men were flown by helicopter to a hospital.

The shootings came extremely close to being a double murder, Taylor said.

“In every respect, with the exception of the ultimate result, it was a homicide,” Taylor said. “The intent was there, the plan was there and the action was there. These men were bound, they were on the side of a mountain in the snow in the very early morning hours. And so this was a close as you can get to an actual murder.”

Scharber’s case on the drug charges continues in federal court.

Casey Grove is host of Alaska News Nightly, a general assignment reporter and an editor at Alaska Public Media. Reach him at Read more about Casey here

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