Woman faces murder charges in deaths of 2 Anchorage men

an anchorage police car is parked in a parking lot
An Anchorage Police patrol vehicle is parked outside the Anchorage Police Department Headquarters on a sunny spring day in early May 2021. (Hannah Lies/Alaska Public Media)

A woman who allegedly told detectives she had wanted to become a serial killer faces murder charges in the deaths of two men in Anchorage earlier this month.

Bail was set for $1 million for Brianna Star Wassillie on Tuesday. The state’s online court records system did not show an attorney for Wassillie as of Wednesday morning. Wassillie also faces a charge of misconduct involving a corpse.

Assistant District Attorney Alice Curci said the killings lacked a clear motive. She also said Wassillie told detectives she had wanted to become a serial killer since she was a child, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

Wassillie, 24, was described as homeless in an arrest warrant. A complaint signed by an Anchorage police detective said Wassillie has no prior criminal convictions in Alaska.

She is charged in the July 3 deaths of Gregory Pitka, 34, and Travis Sheldon, 36. It was not clear whether Wassillie previously knew either of them; Tuesday’s hearing did not shed light on that.

The complaint alleges that Wassillie, after being brought in for questioning by police, admitted to killing the men. It says detectives had connected her to the crimes after letters were found last week along with Pitka’s ID behind a retail store in Anchorage. The complaint says she admitted to writing the letters.

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Casey Grove is the host of Alaska News Nightly and a general assignment reporter at Alaska Public Media with an emphasis on crime and courts. Reach him at cgrove@alaskapublic.org.