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Dog race musher, 59, sentenced to 37 years in prison for 2001 rape and kidnapping after DNA match


A former dog race musher who fled to the Philippines when cold case detectives questioned him about a 2001 rape and kidnapping has been found guilty of the crimes and sentenced to 37 years in prison.

Carmen Perzechino, 59, was linked to the brutal attack on Anna Sattler, who was 30 at the time, in 2019 when detectives finally linked his DNA to samples taken in a rape kit. 

Sattler had to jump out of a moving vehicle in order to escape his clutches.

Perzechino was contacted by state police in January 2019 to answer questions about the rape and, two weeks later, he booked a round-trip ticket to the Philippines and skipped the return flight.

 He was tracked down by Filipino authorities in April 2019 and extradited to Alaska.

The Sterling, Alaska native was convicted on two counts of sexual assault in the first degree and one count of kidnapping in November. 

He was sentenced on Monday after a three week jury trial on Zoom, the state’s first video conference trial of the pandemic. 

Carmen Perzechino, 59, was convicted on two counts of sexual assault in the first degree and one count of kidnapping

According to the State of Alaska Department of Law, in January 2001 Anna Sattler, then 30, met Perzechino in a Soldotna, Alaska bar when he offered her a ride home. 

Perzechino then proceeded to rape Sattler in his van parked along stretch of highway on the Kenai Peninsula and chasing after her every time she attempted to escape.   

Sattler said Perzechino then drove her along the Sterling Highway, refusing to let her out of his car while threatening to kill her.

Sattler eventually jumped out of the moving vehicle in order to escape.  

State troopers collected DNA from Sattler using a sexual assault kit, but it was not sent to the State Crime Lab for DNA testing.

According to standard practice at the time there needed to be an identified suspect to directly compared to the DNA collected in the sex assault kit. 

Investigators could not identify the suspect or vehicle involved in the assault, and the case was closed in 2002 and went cold for nearly two decades. 

Sattler (top right picture, on the left) is pictured during the trial in November 2020. He was sentenced on Monday after a three week jury trial Zoom, the state's first video conference trial of the pandemic

Sattler (top right picture, on the left) is pictured during the trial in November 2020. He was sentenced on Monday after a three week jury trial Zoom, the state’s first video conference trial of the pandemic 

But in 2018, through the state’s Sexual Assault Kit Initiative, hundreds of previously untested rape kits were processed and matched against modern databases.

The DNA collected from Sattler matched a swab Perzechino had given police in 2012 when he was charged for soliciting a prostitute.

 ‘The SAKI project and thorough follow-up investigation allowed us to finally identify a suspect and hold him accountable for his deplorable actions,’ Col. Bryan Barlow, Director of the Alaska State Troopers said. 

After being contacted by a state trooper in 2019 to answer questions about the case, Perzechino escaped to the Philippines, the Anchorage Daily News reports.

He was indicted on the charges in March 2019, and in April 2019 Filipino officials tracked Perzechino down in Angeles City, Pampanga, where he was arrested at the request of the U.S. Embassy.

‘People like him are not welcome in our country. If he did that in the U.S., then there is a possibility that he might commit the same crime in the Philippines,’ Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente of the Philippines said at the time.

During his trial the former dog musher said he didn’t remember anyone jumping out of his car and that the only person he’d had sex with around the time of the assault was his wife.

A second Alaska native woman, who said she was a victim of Perzechino’s in 2016, was called to testify against him in court.

The woman, who has not waived her right to anonymity, said she was assaulted in a similar manner along the Sterling Highway four years ago.

She said Perzechino offered her the opportunity to come spend a few days helping him and his girlfriend around the house.  

Perzechino’s ex-wife also testified against him, saying that on the night in question, he told her a woman had jumped out of his car but he did not tell her about the sexual assault.

In 2004, Perzechino ran the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, the annual long-distance race from Anchorage to Nome. The defense asked the jury to consider why a rapist would subject himself to the statewide spotlight of the competition.

Sattler grew up in the native Yup’ik communities of Western Alaska. 

At the end of the trial, she expressed her relief that the ordeal was done.   

‘This has haunted me for almost 20 years,’ she said. ‘Finally justice has caught up with him. I hope I can now put this behind me and move on with my life.’ 



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