Rabinowitz Courthouse

The Rabinowitz Courthouse in Fairbanks is seen in this 2011 file photo

A Fairbanks man indicted on manslaughter and assault charges last week allegedly kicked and beat a man during a May 15 argument over house cleaning. The victim suffered a brain injury and died three days later at an Anchorage hospital.

Previously unreleased details about the incident were discussed at Erik James Demoski’s bail hearing Thursday afternoon. According to Deputy District Attorney Risa Leonard, Demoski and several roommates were cleaning their residence when Demoski confronted Wesley Thurmond, 38, about his housekeeping skills. Demoski flew into a rage, kicked Thurmond onto a couch and started strangling him. A woman tried to intervene but was unsuccessful.

Demoski eventually stopped strangling Thurmond and punched him once on each side of his head. Witnesses told police that Thurmond did not fight back and seemed incapacitated after Demoski kicked him at the beginning of the incident. After the attack was over, Thurmond’s speech was slurred and he became unresponsive.  

Thurmond’s fiancee called police after she was unsuccessful in waking him. Police found him on the floor with bruises on his torso and neck. He was taken to the emergency room and then medically evacuated to an Anchorage hospital. Staff there told police that Thurmond had suffered a devastating brain injury on the right side of his skull. He died May 18. 

Demoski’s attorney, Robert John, said Thurmond’s death was an unfortunate accident and that he believed “it was more of a mutual combat situation.” John cited his client’s lack of a criminal record and asked Superior Court Judge Michael MacDonald to release him without bail so he could go back to work at a mine 260 miles west of Fairbanks. John also asked MacDonald to appoint a third-party custodian to watch over Demoski while he is in Fairbanks. 

Leonard opposed John’s suggestions and asked that the $25,000 bail order stand, citing the violence of the alleged attack and the resulting death of the victim.

MacDonald denied Demoski’s bail and third-party custodian request. Demoski remains in custody at Fairbanks Correctional Center.

Contact staff writer Dorothy Chomicz at 459-7582. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMcrime.   

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