Anchorage man accused of murdering unborn child in domestic violence assault

A police car marked as Anchorage Police.
File photo of an Anchorage police vehicle (Valerie Lake / Alaska Public Media).

An Anchorage man is charged with murdering his pregnant girlfriend’s unborn child in an assault at their home in April.

A local grand jury indicted 21-year-old Iohani Wilhem Dean on Wednesday. He faces three counts of murder of an unborn child, plus one count each of manslaughter of an unborn child and domestic-violence assault against an unborn child.

Court records show Dean was originally charged with three counts of assault in the April 16 incident.

According to a charging document in the initial assault case, the girlfriend told police Dean became angry that they would be late to church that day. She said he repeatedly pushed a stroller into her stomach, then struck her face with his elbow, the charges say.

When they returned home from church, she told investigators, the two of them got into an argument during which Dean threatened to kill her.

“She believed him and felt fear because she believed he had the ability and would do so,” investigators wrote in the charges. “This was not the first time he had threatened her or her children’s lives so she thought it was really going to happen this time.”

Soon afterward, she told the investigators, Dean slammed her head into a wall and began punching her in the stomach.

The woman said she was able to leave when Dean locked himself inside a room. Later that day, police took her to Providence Alaska Medical Center, where she told them Dean had struck her almost weekly during her pregnancy.

According to the Department of Law, the woman had been pregnant for more than 36 weeks at the time of the unborn child’s death. 

Court records show that the woman obtained a protective order against Dean on April 19. Dean has been charged several times since then with violating a protective order and unlawful contact.

An October case against Dean also includes charges of possessing a weapon while intoxicated and assault by placing others in fear.

Dean is in custody at the Anchorage Correctional Complex. He is set to be arraigned on the new charges Monday. The charges carry a maximum sentence of 99 years in prison, as well as a $500,000 fine.

Department of Law spokeswoman Patty Sullivan said Friday that charges of killing unborn children in Alaska are rare, but not unprecedented. Selawik man Floyd Stoney, 23, was charged last year with killing both his girlfriend and her unborn child.

If you are a victim of domestic violence and are looking for resources, you can call AWAIC’s 24-hour support line at (907) 272-0100.

A full list of Alaska shelters and victim’s services providers can be found here.

Chris Klint is a web producer and breaking news reporter at Alaska Public Media. Reach him at Read more about Chris here.

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