Judge calls man among most dangerous people to come to Kodiak at sex-assault case sentencing

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KODIAK, Alaska — A judge has sent a man he called "one of the most dangerous people to come to Kodiak" to prison for attempted assault and coercion.

Judge Steve Cole sentenced Robert Zoellner Jr. to 15 years behind bars as part of a plea deal, The Kodiak Daily Mirror (http://bit.ly/1I6eZ3r ) reported Friday. Six of the years will be suspended.

The case began with a woman claiming she was violently raped at a popular park. During their investigation, law-enforcement officials found videos and photos from the suspect's computer showing him sexually assaulting another woman.

Zoellner, 34, befriended the first victim in December 2012, Cole said. After getting to know her, he invited her for a cup of coffee, picked her up at her home in the Bells Flats area and took her to the Buskin River campground, where he choked the woman and sprayed her throat with Dust-Off, a refrigerant-based propellant cleaner.

The woman reported she lost consciousness and told investigators Zoellner punched her in the face. Cole said Zoellner then ripped the victim's clothes and sexually assaulted her.

While investigating the Buskin case, law enforcement officials found in Zoellner's computer videos and photos of a woman he allegedly assaulted when he worked as an engineer for a local salmon tender in Kodiak months before the first rape complaint.

The victims wanted to have the matter resolved without having to go to trial, District Attorney Steve Wallace said.

Before the sentencing, Cole asked Zoellner if he had anything to say. The 34-year-old mumbled a few words. "I just wanted to thank the court," he said. "That's all."

Cole said he was hoping to hear Zoellner say he was sorry.

The judge said Zoellner will come out of jail a free man on probation, but he said Zoellner's victims won't be free as they try to overcome their nightmares.

"I have to conclude from everything . you've got to be one of the most dangerous people to come to Kodiak," Cole said, as he imposed a sentence that he said "vocalizes the community's condemnation against sex offenses."

Cole said his primary goal was to deter other people.


Information from: Kodiak (Alaska) Daily Mirror, http://www.kodiakdailymirror.com

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