A Fairbanks man on Wednesday, was sentenced to serve 11 years in prison for the fatal assault of his girlfriend just over a year ago.
Rick Allen was sentenced by Superior Court Judge Bethany Harbison, who called Allen's chances for rehabilitation "highly unlikely," as she detailed his criminal history that
prosecutors say dates back close to 40 years.
Allen was indicted on a charge of Second Degree Murder in the death of 59 year old Ellen Florence Juneby Rada, however, in December, 2012 he pleaded guilty to a reduced
charge of First Degree Manslaughter in a plea deal.
As part of that deal, Allen would receive between 7 and 11 years in jail, a move that angered family members and friends of Rada, who called the agreement "ridiculous."
"This was not Manslaughter, it was Murder plain and simple," said Rada's niece Jody Juneby Potts. "I credit the Fairbanks Police Department for the thorough job they did investigating
the case, and the charges they brought against Rick Allen. Apparently, the District Attorneys Office doesn't want to do their job, and take the case to trial."
Rada's brother, Ben Juneby, also criticized prosecuting attorneys for not keeping them better informed on the case.
"That's my sister that was killed by him (Allen), and I wasn't even contacted about a plea agreement," says Juneby, as he fought back tears.
A host of family members and friends rallied outside the Rabinowitz Courthouse shortly before Allen's hearing.
At issue was the plea agreement, and whether or not Harbison would accept it.
"The jail sentence is not enough," said Clara Journey, a family friend. "Ellen did not deserve this. And he admitted that he planned to kill her."
But after hearing testimony from both Assistant District Attorney Scott Mattern, and Allen's court appointed Public Defender Mark Billingsley, Harbison ruled she was obligated to accept
Allen's plea to the lesser charge of Manslaughter because she felt Mattern made a valid argument that the state risked an acquittal or a lesser sentence by going to trial.
About 40 people came to Wednesday's hearing, packing Harbison's courtroom.
Given the opportunity to speak to the court, Allen declined.
But several in the courtroom gallery voiced their frustrations, not only at Allen, but towards Harbison's decision to stick with the agreement that had been worked out.
"Unfair," said long-time Interior resident Darlene Herbert.
"I hope you rot in jail Rick Allen," said Ben Juneby.
Jody Juneby Potts, who has worked as a Village Public Safety Officer in the rural parts of the Interior, was even more direct, saying the district attorney's treatment of the case "reflected
badly on the "Choose Respect" campaign championed by Governor Sean Parnell.
"The governor's campaign, I just feel needs more muscle behind it," said Potts. "I think that comes from the executive branch and the district attorneys office.
In an interview with News Center 11, Ben Juneby looked back on the year that has passed, calling his sister's death, as well as the subsequent passing of his brother
Isaac Juneby "tough."
"Not a day goes by I don't think about her," Juneby said through tears. "I am constantly waiting for her to come through my door with that big smile.
But I guess its just not going to happen."