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Press Release

Anchorage Teens Indicted for September 2016 Robbery Homicide

October 14, 2016

(ANCHORAGE, Alaska) On Thursday, October 6, 2016, four Anchorage teens were indicted for their alleged role in the September 22, 2016 shooting death of Paula Marie Zorawski in her East Anchorage home.

18 year old Yurel Nichols was indicted on one count of murder in the first degree, as well as murder in the second degree and robbery in the first degree. Nichols was apprehended by the U.S. Marshal’s Service in Texas on Wednesday, October 13, 2016.

18 year old Savon Berry, 18 year old Tommy Higgs III, and 19 year old Alonzo Steward were indicted on one count of murder in the second degree, robbery in the first degree, and tampering with evidence. A fifth teen, 18 year old Michael Fitzgerald, pled guilty to robbery in the first degree on September 29, 2016 in connection with this incident.

The Anchorage Police responded to a report of a shooting on Alora Loop at approximately 10:48 p.m. on September 22, 2016. Zorawski’s son had called 911 and reported that his mother had been shot when she answered the door to their home only minutes earlier. Zorawski was taken to Providence Alaska Medical Center, where she survived for several days with her family at her side until she died as a result of the shooting on September 28, 2016.

The Anchorage Police Department’s homicide unit identified all five of the teens during their investigation, including Nichols, who had reportedly left Alaska for Texas shortly after the homicide. The investigation also found that one of the suspects had visited the residence previously to purchase marijuana.

All four of the defendants are scheduled to be arraigned in Anchorage Superior Court on Friday, October 14, 2016. The defendants each face a sentence of up to 99 years in prison for the murder charges.

The charges in the indictment are only allegations and are not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the prosecution must prove their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

CONTACT: Assistant District Attorney Gustaf Olson at (907) 269-6300 or gustaf.olson@alaska.gov.

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