Alaska man takes plea deal for murdering his girlfriend last year

Reuben Yerkes, was arrested after police say he turned himself in for shooting, killing his girlfriend. Photo from Sitka Police Department.
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SITKA, Alaska (KTUU) - A Sitka man who previously pleaded guilty to murdering his girlfriend accepted a plea deal Thursday for the lesser charge of murder in the second degree, setting a lower sentencing range for the judge.

Reuben Yerkes, 40, plead guilty almost a year ago to the May 2017 killing of Ali Clayton. The killing involved a reportedly drunken argument that escalated into violence between Yerkes and Clayton, who had only been dating for two months.

Yerkes told police that the two had been drinking at a friend's party and gotten into an argument during the cab ride home. As the argument continued, Yerkes claimed Clayton started hitting him.

That's when, police reported, he took out a handgun from the bedside table and shot her. Clayton was found by police dead on a bed inside the apartment the two shared, with multiple gunshot wounds to the head. They did not say exactly how many times Yerkes shot her.

Yerkes will reportedly see 45 years served in prison for the murder, with 15 years suspended, for a total sentence of 60 years, according to the Sitka Police Department.

The sentence won't be official until the presiding judge signs off on it. That determination is scheduled at the Sitka Court in September 2018, SPD said.

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