ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Authorities in Alaska said Friday they are investigating claims by a confessed Anchorage killer that he is responsible for three additional deaths, for a total of five victims.
Joshua Wade, who is serving a life sentence, agreed to provide information on the additional killings in exchange for a transfer to a federal prison outside Alaska, authorities representing federal, state and police agencies said at a briefing for reporters. Asked why the transfer was wanted, Assistant Attorney General John Novak said that was a question for Wade to answer.
"It really didn't matter to me," said Novak, who has been dealing with Wade for 14 years. "I don't care if he serves his time in the federal system or in the state system. I want to make sure he's locked up in a cage."
Wade, 34, was convicted of killing nurse Mindy Schloss and convicted of evidence tampering in the death of Della Brown.
Wade contacted KTVA-TV several times last winter to confess to the additional murders and said he was bargaining information with authorities to get transferred to a prison outside Alaska, the Anchorage station reported late Thursday.
Wade told police and FBI investigators that he was responsible for the murder of a man in Anchorage in 1994 and another man in Anchorage in 1999. Wade also said he killed an unidentified man on the night Brown was killed.
Investigators said they believe Wade is referring to the unsolved murders of 30-year-old Henry Ongtowasruk in 1999 and 38-year-old John Michael Martin in 1994. Wade would have been 14 years old at the time of the 1994 homicide. The families of the men have been notified.
Wade was sentenced to life in prison in February 2010 in the 2007 death of Schloss, a neighbor who worked as a nurse practitioner.
"I deserve much worse," he tearfully said at his state court sentencing.
In a signed plea agreement for the slaying, Wade also acknowledged that he killed Brown, another Anchorage woman, in September 2000 by hitting her on the head with a large rock. Brown's battered, partially-nude body was found in an abandoned shed.
Wade tried to back out of his plea in late 2012 when he filed a motion for post-conviction relief from the state. The case was dismissed June 10 in an action sanctioned by Wade.
"He said, basically, if you transfer me, this action will go away," Novak said. "And so I said amen."
Wade was transferred to a federal maximum security prison in Indiana earlier this year.
Authorities wouldn't discuss the veracity of Wade's allegations, only saying they are still investigating. They also are seeing if physical evidence from the earlier murders can be tied to Wade.
An Anchorage jury acquitted Wade of Brown's murder but convicted him of tampering with evidence, for which he served 6 ½ years in prison.
In telephone calls last winter from jail to KTVA, Wade claimed he killed someone else when he was 14 and five years later, strangled someone in a botched robbery.
The third additional death, he said, came the night Brown was killed. There was a man with her in the shed. Wade told the station he knocked the man unconscious, put him in the trunk of his car, and then went for drinks.
When he returned, he heard thumping in the trunk.
"And I opened it, nobody was around, it was dark, and pulled him out and pretty sure that I'd killed him that time by stomping on his head," Wade told the station.
KTVA didn't air the interviews last winter because there was no corroboration, but it did so Thursday night after police announced the news conference for the next day.
"I drove out to the valley, found a spot, took the guy out, took his clothes off and shot him in the head two times with a shotgun and pretty much took everything from the shoulders up," he told KTVA.
Months after his release from the evidence-tampering conviction, Wade bound, gagged and kidnapped Schloss, shooting her in a wooded area near Wasilla.
Wade was sentenced to 99 years in prison for the murder of Schloss. A state court judge placed a restriction on the parole board to make Wade serve at least 66 years.
If Wade would be released at age 95, he would serve out the remainder of a federal life sentence for murder committed during a carjacking.
Wade denied to the station that he was a serial killer.
"Absolutely not," he responded. And his advice to people who think he is a serial killer: "Quit reading books."
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