Notorious Alaska Serial Killer Found Dead in Indiana Prison

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — An Alaska serial killer who confessed to murdering five people, including one when he was just 14 years old, has died in an Indiana prison, according to officials.

Joshua Wade, 44, was found unresponsive in his cell at the Indiana State Prison in Michigan City on June 14, as confirmed by Brandi Pahl, spokesperson for the Indiana Department of Correction, in an email last Friday.

An autopsy will be conducted to determine the cause of Wade’s death. The La Porte County, Indiana, coroner’s office has not yet responded to inquiries about the case.

Wade’s criminal history is both extensive and disturbing. He was convicted of both state and federal crimes in 2010.

Initially serving his sentence at Spring Creek Correctional Center, a maximum-security prison in Seward, Alaska, Wade later struck a deal to be transferred to a federal prison in Indiana. This transfer came in exchange for his admission to additional murders.

The case that initially brought Wade into the public eye occurred in 2000. He was charged with the brutal killing of Della Brown, who was struck in the head with a large rock.

Her body was discovered in a shed. However, a jury acquitted Wade of murder and sexual assault charges, convicting him only of witness tampering.

After serving his sentence for tampering, Wade’s violent tendencies resurfaced. In 2007, he bound, gagged, kidnapped, tortured, and then shot his neighbor, nurse practitioner Mindy Schloss, in a wooded area near Wasilla, Alaska. This crime led to both state and federal charges.

Wade eventually entered into a plea agreement, receiving life sentences for both state and federal charges in the Schloss killing. As part of the plea deal, he also admitted to killing Della Brown, thereby avoiding the death penalty if convicted by a federal jury.

According to the source, it is worth noting that the state of Alaska does not have capital punishment.

On February 17, 2010, Wade was sentenced in separate proceedings in both state and federal court. During these appearances, he apologized for his heinous acts. In state court, he faced the families of his victims, saying, “I deserve much worse. I’m sorry.”

In federal court, he repeated his apology but later had an angry exchange with U.S. District Court Judge Ralph Beistline.

Judge Beistline condemned Wade’s actions, describing him as heartless, selfish, and a coward. “What an evil thing you’ve done,” Beistline stated.

“What kind of person could take pleasure in the random destruction of another life?” Wade, visibly angered, warned the judge, “Don’t push it, man,” to which Beistline responded, “I’m going to push it.”

The judge noted that Wade’s outburst was revealing and indicative of the kind of anger his victims, such as Schloss, might have faced in their final moments.

In 2014, after serving four years at the Alaska prison, Wade negotiated another deal with prosecutors to be transferred to a federal prison in Indiana.

In return, he confessed to additional murders, including the killing of John Michael Martin in 1994 when Wade was only 14 and Henry Ongtowasruk, 30, in 1999. He also admitted to killing an unidentified man on the night he murdered Brown.

Former Alaska Assistant Attorney General John Novak explained at the time that allowing Wade to transfer to a federal prison meant Wade would dismiss a post-conviction relief case, ensuring he would never be released.

Novak emphasized the importance of securing a conviction that would remain in effect, especially given the unpredictable nature of jury decisions, as evidenced by Wade’s earlier acquittal in the Brown murder case.

Novak stated that it did not matter where Wade served his sentence, as long as he served it.

Currently, it remains unclear when and why Wade was transferred from the federal facility in Terre Haute to the Indiana State Prison.

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