A woman in Alaska who allegedly had aspirations of becoming a serial killer has been charged with the murders of two men killed just hours apart.
Brianna S. Wassillie, 24, was arrested on Sunday for the murders of Gregory Pitka, 34, and Travis Sheldon, 36, the Anchorage Police Department announced Monday. Police say both men were attacked on July 3 one block away from one another in Anchorage’s Sand Lake area within the span of a few hours. It remains unclear if Wassillie knew either one of the victims.
Wassillie is charged with two counts of first-degree murder and one count of misconduct involving a corpse.
During her arraignment on Tuesday, Assistant District Attorney Alice Curci stated the murders were “entirely senseless,” arguing that Wassillie was “an absolute danger to the community,” according to the Anchorage Daily News.
Anchorage police responded to reports of an assault on a man “walking outside who appeared to be injured” at around 5:30 p.m. on July 3, according to their release.
Responders found Sheldon unconscious on the scene and bleeding from the head, according to a complaint obtained by Anchorage Daily News. Officers said the man — later identified as Travis Sheldon — had sustained “visible injuries to the upper body.” He was transported to an area hospital.
Near Sheldon, investigators found a large rock and a credit card belonging to a man named Gregory Pitka.
Police spoke with an unnamed witness, who said he'd seen Sheldon drinking with another person about 15 minutes before police were called. The witness said he'd briefly left and, when he returned, Sheldon was injured.
On July 5, Sheldon died as a result of his injuries, according to the police department’s release.
Around 3:42 p.m. that same day, dispatchers received a report of a dead man outside a West Dimond Boulevard business, just one block from where Sheldon was fatally attacked. According to the Anchorage outlet, the man — later identified as Gregory Pitka — was found covered in a blanket behind a parked trailer.
A postmortem examination cited by the Anchorage Daily News revealed Pitka had been dead for several days and was sexually assaulted after his death.
Police believe Pitka was killed on July 3. They connected him to Sheldon’s attack after reviewing surveillance video from a local Taco Bell. The video showed the man who'd reported Sheldon’s attack to police visiting with Pitka at about 1:00 p.m., a couple hours before Sheldon was assaulted.
The witness reportedly left the area when Pitka was approached by a woman, as seen in the security footage.
According to the Daily News, in other security footage — which was partially obscured by a walled-off enclosure — police were able to see the woman placing the blanket on the scene before walking away.
On July 6, police announced that a “person of interest” had been located and taken in for questioning in connection with Pitka’s murder, emphasizing that no arrests had been made in the case.
According to the complaint, on July 13 authorities received word that a suspicious container was located behind a local Wal-Mart. The following day, police collected the container, finding letters — allegedly written by Brianna Wassillie — that detailed a man’s murder and sexual assault.
Identification cards belonging to Pitka were also found with the letters.
Wassillie, who is reportedly homeless, was arrested on Saturday at a gas station not far from where Sheldon and Pitka were attacked, according to the Anchorage outlet.
Wassillie allegedly told investigators that she killed Pitka first, after growing angry when he allegedly refused to steal liquor for her.
Wassillie allegedly told police that she “punched him, slapped him, and banged his head against the ground,” according to the complaint. She then allegedly said that she'd left but returned and strangled Pitka to death with the drawstrings of his hoodie.
Later, she allegedly sexually assaulted Pitka’s body and looked for cash, eventually stealing his backpack and fleeing the scene.
Wassillie also allegedly admitted to then entering the woods to consume alcohol when Travis Sheldon “walked up on her." Wassillie allegedly said she gave Sheldon a beer before taking the beer back, strangling Sheldon and hitting him with a rock.
“For apparently no reason, she decides to strangle him, as well,” Curci said of Sheldon’s murder. “And when Travis Sheldon lost consciousness, the defendant picked up a rock — in her own words, ‘to get it done.’ She hit him on the head with a rock several times, and Travis Sheldon died.”
According to Curci, Wassillie allegedly had aspirations as a child to one day become a serial killer, the Anchorage Daily News reported.
“That she had repeatedly wondered what it would be like to take a life,” said Curci. “She admitted to killing several animals over the years — torturing them and taking videos of this."
Wassillie is being held at the Hiland Mountain Correctional Center on $1 million bail.