FAIRBANKS - A Kenai man has been sentenced to 99 years in prison for killing a woman with a Phillips screwdriver and sexually assaulting her more than 28 years ago.
The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports that Superior Court Judge Anna Moran sentenced 56-year-old Jimmy Lee Eacker on Friday for the gruesome killing. The case had gone cold, but DNA technology was able to pin down Eacker.
"We've finally got to the end," Lister's sister, Debbie Davis, said from her home in Soldotna. "We've come so far and it's taken so long."
Eacker was convicted of killing 29-year-old Toni Lister in the woods near Seward. Lister, a mother of four, disappeared after a night out with friends. Her body was found in a wooded area near a dump weeks later.
An autopsy revealed she had been sexually assaulted and stabbed in the chest, head and neck with a Phillips screwdriver, Alaska State Troopers said.
Davis said two women testified in court that Eacker had sexually assaulted them 35 years ago, but were too afraid to come forward until now.
The newspaper reported that Eacker will seek a new trial. Eacker has long maintained he doesn't remember what happened the night Lister was killed. He did not testify during trial but in a statement he said he was sorry Lister is dead.
Eacker is a registered sex offender after a 1991 conviction in Kenai of attempted sexual assault on a minor. Calls to Eacker's lawyer were not immediately returned.
In 2007, friends of Eacker described him as loyal and hard-working. He had worked as a cook and handyman.
Lister is buried in Kasilof.
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