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Press Release

Sex Offender Sentenced To 150 Years

February 6, 2013

Valdez, Alaska - In what is likely one of the longest sentences handed down for sexual abuse in the history of the State of Alaska, Superior Court Judge Eric Smith sentenced former Valdez resident Derek Werder on February 4, 2013 to serve 150 years in prison.

A Valdez jury convicted Werder last June of 16 counts of sexual abuse of a minor, nine counts of sexual assault in the first degree, three counts of sexual abuse of a minor in the second degree, four counts of assault in the third degree, and one count of assault in the fourth degree. For more than a decade, Werder sexually and physically abused his young stepdaughter, videotaped some of his crimes, and forced others to participate in some of the sexual assaults.

At the sentencing hearing in Valdez, where Werder was sentenced to a composite term of 219 years, with 69 years suspended, Judge Smith commented that the case was the worst he had ever sat through in his 16 years on the bench. Werder's actions inflicted severe emotional damage on the young victims and tore apart the family. The convictions stem from an investigation conducted by the Valdez Police Department in 2011. The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Melissa Wininger-Howard of the Palmer District Attorney's Office.

CONTACT: Assistant District Attorney Melissa Wininger-Howard at (907) 761-5648 or

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