Selovic school principal’s husband arrested after resident’s body found in dump, troops say

Selovic school principal’s husband arrested after resident’s body found in dump, troops say

Feb. 10—Alaska State Troopers say they arrested a 47-year-old Selawik man this week on a homicide charge in connection with the death of a village resident whose body was found in a village dump.

A criminal complaint filed Friday in the case identified the man as Lance Brickley, the husband of the school principal in the northwest Alaska village. Brickley is charged with first- and second-degree murder, tampering with evidence and third-degree misconduct, according to the indictment.

Troopers said Friday that they were notified around midnight Wednesday that the body of a man later identified as 41-year-old Timothy Snyder had been found. Troopers based in Kotzebue, investigators from the Alaska Bureau of Investigation and crime scene technicians from the state crime lab traveled to Selavi Thursday morning.

According to a sworn affidavit filed with the complaint, a community member called troopers late Wednesday after seeing a hand or arm near a black tote with a yellow cover at the dump.

The tote, which was covered by a blanket, was marked with either Brickley’s name or his wife, Jenny Brickley’s, the affidavit said. A witness told investigators Lance Brickley brought the tot to the dump with the school’s snowmachine.

Jenny Brickley was listed as the principal of Davis-Ramoth Memorial School in Selavik on Friday morning, but her name and photo had been removed from the school’s website by noon. Assistant Principal Jamie Cowart is now acting principal, according to Northwest Arctic Borough School District Superintendent Terry Walker.

Troopers said they identified Snyder as the dead man inside the tote and discovered he had been shot. Investigators determined that Lance Brickley shot Snyder at his home in teacher housing, where Brickley and several other men were drinking, the affidavit said.

Cowart called troopers Thursday morning and said Brickley admitted to him that he shot Snyder after he hit a child in the home by squeezing the child’s arm, according to an affidavit signed by trooper investigator Craig Markiewicz. Brickley told Cowart that Snyder came to his house with a weapon and that Brickley shot him around 8 p.m. Wednesday, then “panicked” and took the body to the dump, the investigator wrote.

According to the affidavit, other witnesses gave school personnel a different account than the one Brickley gave.

A witness told investigators he was one of four people drinking in Brickley’s apartment, a group that included Snyder, when Brickley shot the other man with a pistol, the affidavit said. The man said he helped Brickley take the body to the dump and cleaned up Brickley’s apartment at the four-plex, it said. He told investigators that Snyder did not have a weapon at the time of the shooting.

Another man in the group said he saw a round Brickley chambered in his pistol and put it in his pocket before firing, even though the man was not in the apartment when the weapon was discharged, the affidavit said.

In Markiewicz’s interview Thursday afternoon, Brickley said Snyder grabbed the child’s arm and tried to push the child’s head toward his crotch, according to the affidavit. Brickley said he had a gun in his coat, which he left at home when he took the child to school after the incident with Snyder.

When he returned, Brickley told investigators, Snyder kicked in the door and “placed the gun on a table,” the investigator wrote.

Brickley said he put the gun in his pocket but it somehow came out again and the two men fought over it before Brickley got the gun back, the affidavit said. As Brickley moved the gun from one hand to the other, he told investigators, the weapon “inexplicably” fired three times as Snyder lay on his back on the floor, Markiewicz wrote.

Brickley said he went to the police department to report what happened but no one was there, the affidavit said. He also said he planned to retrieve the body on Thursday when he told the police what had happened.

Brickley told investigators he “shouldn’t have had a pistol in the first place” because he was a felon, the affidavit said. Investigators have secured multiple felony convictions in other states.

Janie Brickley, in an interview with troopers, said she came home around 10 p.m. Wednesday to find her husband and two other men there and blood on the kitchen floor, then went to bed, according to the affidavit. The next morning, her assistant principal told her what her husband had shared, the documents said. “Lance told Jenny she had to do it to protect the baby,” Markiewicz wrote.

Jenny Brickley said the family had a dog that could go into heat “and there was usually blood on the floor from it,” she wrote.

Trooper spokesman Austin McDaniel said Lance Brickley was arrested without incident. He was detained at Selavik Police Department.

Brickley is expected to be taken from Selavik to the Kotzebue jail, McDaniel said.

Cowart, the assistant principal, will serve as Selavik’s acting principal for the remainder of the school year, Superintendent Walker said Friday morning.

“I’ve been working closely with the Alaska State Troopers,” Walker said. “As this is an ongoing investigation, I cannot provide any additional information at this time.”

The State Medical Examiner’s Office is conducting an autopsy on Snyder’s remains. An investigation continues.

Selavik, a village of about 800 people, is about 90 miles east of Kotzebue and 670 miles northwest of Anchorage.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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