Alaska tribes exercise banishment power after deaths in village

An aerial view of Nunam Iqua in Alaska. Photo by Joseph

Three tribes in Alaska have banished a 22-year-old man who admitted he caused the deaths of three people.

Derek Adams pleaded guilty to three counts of criminally negligent homicide in connection with a June 2013 fire in the village of Nunam Iqua. Three people -- including an eight-year-old boy and the defendant's godfather -- died.

Adams was sentenced to four years on Monday but won't be serving any additional prison time because he's already completed the conditions of his sentence, Alaska Dispatch News reported. He was released after his plea hearing in April, the paper said.

But Adams isn't allowed to return to Nunam Iqua, Emmonak or Alakanuk because all three tribal governments in the villages banished him. Resolutions posted by Alaska Dispatch News cite his violent past -- he was involved in a non-fatal shooting in Nunam Iqua in 2012 -- and say he has threatened family members and other residents.

"I certainly understand that villages are within their rights to say, 'We don't want to take that chance and he's banned from here,'" Bethel District Attorney Michael Gray said in court on Monday, Alaska Dispatch News reported.

Read More on the Story:
Young man blamed for 3 arson deaths in Alaska village gets traditional justice: Banishment (Alaska Dispatch News 9/12)
Banished man sentenced for 3 deaths from fire (Alaska Dispatch News 9/13)

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