Attorney General Welcomes Resolution of Brown, Schloss Murders
February 17, 2010
Anchorage, Alaska– Attorney General Dan Sullivan said he hopes the families and friends of Della Brown and Mindy Schloss feel a sense of closure and the start of healing with today's plea by Joshua Wade that he is guilty of murdering the two Anchorage women.
"We want these families – and all Alaskans – to know that we will never rest when such heinous crimes remain unpunished," Sullivan said. "Thanks to close cooperation between our office and the U.S. Attorney's Office, we are seeing justice served."
Wade changed his pleas in Alaska Superior Court and U.S. District Court to accept responsibility in the murder of Ms. Schloss in 2007 and Ms. Brown in 2000. He received effective life sentences in both venues for the crimes, including a 99-year state sentence.
Although Wade was acquitted by a jury in 2003 of murdering Ms. Brown, his confession entered in Superior Court this morning allowed Judge Philip Volland to prohibit discretionary parole. Even with good behavior in prison, Wade will have to serve 66 years before being eligible for parole on the state conviction. And then if he were ever released, he would automatically be taken into custody by the Federal Bureau of Prisons to finish out the balance of his concurrent life sentence with no possibility of release.
"We also hope that this result today demonstrates our commitment to equality under the law," Attorney General Sullivan said. "One of the many tragedies from the Della Brown murder is the perception that the ethnicity of a victim might somehow influence how aggressively a crime is investigated and prosecuted by the state. Let me address this plainly, sincerely and directly: We will never give up or go easy on a perpetrator because the victim is an Alaska Native or of any other ethnicity."
Terms of Agreed Upon State Court Resolution
The terms of the plea agreement that was entered into between the State of Alaska and Wade, and approved by Superior Court Judge Philip Volland, are as follows:
- Mr. Wade pled guilty in state court to intentionally causing the death of Mindy Schloss.
- Mr. Wade acknowledged the accuracy of the facts set forth in the charging document regarding his murdering Mindy Schloss.
- Mr. Wade acknowledged that he had been fully advised by his lawyers as to all of his pretrial and trial rights, including the right to have his case presented to a grand jury and trial by judge or jury. Mr. Wade agreed to waive those rights. Mr. Wade acknowledged that he is of sound mind and fully mentally competent.
- Mr. Wade agreed in state court that the arraignment, change of plea, and sentencing all were to take place before the same judge at the same time.
- Mr. Wade agreed in state court that the judge was to rely upon the pre-sentence report that was prepared in connection with the 2000 Della Brown case, as well as any federal pre-sentence report made available to him.
- Mr. Wade admitted in state court that he murdered Della Brown and agreed to the accuracy of the facts set forth in the charging document filed in the new case regarding that murder. Mr. Wade agreed that the judge was to take his confession to murdering Della Brown and the facts regarding his committing that murder into consideration in assessing the danger Mr. Wade presents and in accepting and imposing the agreed-upon disposition in the new case, which includes ineligibility for discretionary parole.
- Mr. Wade agreed in state court to the judge imposing a sentence of 99 years to serve.
- Mr. Wade agreed in state court to the judge denying the parole board the power to release him on discretionary parole, on the basis that the statutes allowing for discretionary parole are insufficient to protect the public and rehabilitate him.
- Mr. Wade acknowledged that the State of Alaska has not made any promise, and will not make any agreement, regarding the correctional facility or facilities where he will serve his sentence, the conditions therein or the availability of programs.
- Mr. Wade agreed in state court to waiving all appeal and post-conviction relief rights, except for the right to challenge the conviction and/or sentence on a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, which would be on grounds unknown now.
- The agreement Mr. Wade reached also included and incorporated the written agreement he reached with the United States of America that resulted in the U.S. District Court imposing a sentence of life without the possibility of release.
Significance of Imposed Sentences
- The agreed-upon resolutions in both state and federal court guarantee to the greatest extent possible that Mr. Wade will be behind bars for the balance of his life and that he will die in prison.
- They guarantee to the greatest extent possible that Mr. Wade will not again prey upon and kill another woman.
- The resolutions demonstrate the fact that law enforcement – including members of the Anchorage Police Department, the Alaska State Troopers, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation -- and prosecutors –- members of the State Attorney General's Office, as well as those of the U.S. Attorney's Office -- never have rested in their efforts to hold the murderer of Della Brown and Mindy Schloss accountable.
- The resolutions in both state and federal court might afford closure to the families and friends of Della Brown and Mindy Schloss, as well as to other Alaskans.
- The agreed-upon resolutions in both state and federal court reflect the years of close and coordinated efforts of the offices of the Alaska Attorney General and United States Attorney regarding the deaths of Della Brown and Mindy Schloss -- without which, this final outcome would not have been possible.
For more information, contact state prosecutor John Novak, (907)632-3284.
# # #