ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A man accused of tampering with evidence in a January homicide appeared in court Sunday. Aarron Settje was arraigned for multiple charges in separate cases including robbery, theft and tampering with physical evidence in the death of 33-year-old Kortez Brown.
Settje has not been charged with anything more than tampering with the physical evidence in relation to Brown's death.
After being taken into custody Friday afternoon, Settje was scheduled to appear on Saturday, but a bailiff said he was in detox. On Sunday, he initially faced the judge with both middle fingers in the air.
According to court documents, Settje disposed of a firearm and cartridge casings used in the Brown homicide.
Court papers claim Brown’s wife went to a home on the 8000 block of E. 36th Avenue on the night of Jan. 13 to discuss “relationship issues” with Carlton Tarkington. Witnesses told detectives Brown showed up and approached the home before attempting “to force entry by hitting the front door with a baseball bat when he was shot,” charging documents state.
Another witness statement to investigators claims Settje had a rifle and was inside the home warning Brown to “stand down.” In an earlier interview with KTUU, Tarkington said Settje told Brown one more time to get away from the door, or else he would shoot, and Brown responded by saying "f--- you" and kicking the door again.
“Crime scene reconstruction of the interior entry revealed that approximately six shots had been fired from a position behind the front door. No cartridge casings were present...An empty black rifle case was found near the front door,” the charging documents state. During his arraignment, Settje said, “I was defending my property.”
Brown’s niece, Courtney Jefferson attended the arraignment. “I know the police are working on it and I know that it’s going to be a process that’s going to take some time to get the stories correctly [sic.] and to figure out the truth of who did what,” she told media.
In the days following the deadly shooting, Anchorage Police identified both Settje and Tarkington as “persons of interest" in the case.
A judge ordered Settje held in lieu of $10,000 cash appearance for the felony tampering with evidence charge. A condition of his release is house arrest with electronic monitoring.
Settje is also accused of robbery at the Sportsman’s Warehouse on Jan. 30. Charging documents say Settje concealed ammunition and a firearm accessory before walking out of the store and into a car waiting nearby with an armed man in the driver’s seat. “The man got out of the vehicle and pointed a gun at the store employees,” the court papers state, before leaving the scene.
During the arraignment, the judge stated Settje is not allowed to return to any Wal-Mart stores within the municipality due to a robbery and criminal trespassing charge from July of last year. A formal complaint filed in district court claimed Settje threatened a loss prevention officer with a fish fillet knife while leaving the store with allegedly stolen merchandise.