Judge Peterson Sentences Benjamin Wilkins to 75 Years for Murdering Jacqueline Goodwin


(Anchorage, AK) – Last week, Superior Court Judge Andrew Peterson sentenced 42-year-old Benjamin Wilkins to 75 years to serve for one count of Murder in the Second Degree. The defendant pled guilty to the charge and faced an open sentence of between 10 years and 75 years to serve.

Palmer DA Trina Sears questioning a witness during the sentencing hearing for Benjamin Wilkins (in yellow) this week. Photo by Patty Sullivan.
Palmer DA Trina Sears questioning a witness during the sentencing hearing for Benjamin Wilkins (in yellow) this week. Photo by Patty Sullivan.

On June 27, 2016, Wilkins shot Jacqueline Goodwin, 31, in the stomach, severely beat her and suffocated her by taping her nose and mouth and placing a plastic bag over her head, sealed shut with duct tape and zip ties. Judge Peterson found that Wilkins engaged in torture and “extreme, deliberate cruelty” toward Goodwin. Anchorage Police Department officers located Goodwin’s body hidden in a vehicle after Wilkins crashed into a light pole on Debarr Road and after they had arrested him for Driving Under the Influence.

In his sentencing comments, Judge Peterson said it was evident that Wilkins’ family was involved in this offense because Wilkins’ mother, Jacqueline Stefano, heard the beating and murder of Goodwin, yet never helped. Wilkins’ brother, Connor Stefano, assisted Wilkins in cleaning up the murder scene and disposing of evidence associated with the homicide. Judge Peterson further acknowledged that after Wilkins’ federal conviction and sentencing for a drug offense, he engaged in an additional drug enterprise in this case. During the investigation of this homicide, police found more than $130,000 in cash and more than 30 pounds of drugs in Wilkins’ residence, to include methamphetamine, heroin, and cocaine.

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For further information, please contact District Attorney Trina Sears at (907) 761-5648.

Co-counsel on the case is Assistant District Attorney Kaila Hurley.