Anchorage, AK – A man accused of having strangled a stranger to the point of unconsciousness, and masturbating on her before heading to his job as an air traffic controller will serve no time in jail.
He will also not be required to register as a sex offender, the court ruled on Wednesday.
“I would like the gentleman to be on notice that that is his one pass,” Anchorage Assistant District Attorney Andrew Grannik said during the assailant’s sentencing hearing, according to KTVA.
“It’s not really a pass, but given the conduct, one might consider that it is,” he added.
Justin Schneider, 34, allegedly spotted the woman at a gas station on Aug. 15, 2017, and offered her a ride, CNN reported.
The woman had never met Schneider, and accepted his offer to drive her to her boyfriend’s home.
Instead, Schneider drove the woman to another location, claiming that he needed to pick something up from another vehicle, KTVA reported.
He then asked the woman to get out of the vehicle so he could load something into it, so she complied.
But as she neared the rear of his SUV, she says Schneider “full-on tackled” her, slamming her onto the ground, where he proceeded to strangle her with both hands.
According to court documents, Schneider told the woman he would kill her if she screamed.
“She said she could not fight him off, he was too heavy and had her down being choked to death,” the criminal complaint read, according to KTVA. “[The victim] said she lost consciousness, thinking she was going to die.”
The woman told police that when she regained consciousness, Schneider was getting up off of her and zipping his pants. He offered her a tissue, which she later gave to police as evidence.
“The man told her that he wasn’t really going to kill her, that he needed her to believe she was going to die so that he could be sexually fulfilled,” according to court documents.
Schneider then allowed the victim to gather her phone and backpack from the vehicle, and left her standing on the side of the road while he headed to his job at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.
She noted his license plate number, and was also able to provide police with a description of her attacker.
Schneider was originally indicated on four felony offenses, including assault and kidnapping, CNN reported.
In exchange for his guilty plea on a single count of felony assault in the second degree, Grannik agreed to recommend he be sentenced to two years in prison – with one suspended – followed by three years of probation.
The court accepted the agreement, and gave Schneider credit for the time he spent on ankle bracelet monitoring while living at home with his wife and children, so he won’t have to serve any time in jail.
The prosecutor noted that Schneider had enrolled in a treatment program, and that his evaluator believed the likelihood of him reoffending was low, KTVA reported.
“That’s the reason why I made the deal that I’ve made, because I have reasonable expectations that it will not happen,” Grannik said.
Grannik told the court that Schneider was fired from his job as an air traffic controller because of the matter, and referred to the consequence as a “life sentence.”
Schneider also addressed the court during the hearing, but at no point made mention of the impact his attack had on his victim.
“I would just like to emphasize how grateful I am for this process,” he said. “It has given me a year to really work on myself and become a better person, and a better husband, and a better father, and I’m very eager to continue that journey.”
Grannik told the judge he tried to call the victim to let her know about the sentencing, but that he couldn’t find her.
“This can never happen again,” Judge Michael Corey told Schneider, adding that the outcome of the case was “breathtaking.”
Despite the sexual nature of his offense, Schneider will not be required to register as a sex offender because the single count he was convicted of did not meet the legal requirements of a sexual assault.