Dean Westlake, a legislator from Kotzebue who resigned under scandalous circumstances in 2017, has been killed. Police found him in a pool of blood, with signs he had been pummeled at a home in the 7500 block of Rovenna Street in Anchorage.
The suspect has been identified as his son, 36-year-old Tallon Westlake. After being interviewed by detectives, he was taken to the Anchorage Jail on charges of manslaughter and tampering with evidence. Now the incident is being investigated as a homicide, although cause of death must still be determined by the medical examiner.
Police said that because it is a domestic violence-related crime, they are not releasing the name of the victim, but it’s now known to be former Rep. Westlake.
At 6:51 am on Aug. 20, Anchorage Police Department and medics with the Anchorage Fire Department arrived at the Rovenna Street house to respond to a 911 call by Tallon about his father being dead in the house. Blood on the walls, blood on the floor, blood on the deceased, and blood on Tallon Westlake and his clothing led police to look at the situation as a crime scene. The floor was wet as though it has just been mopped and there was a mop in the bathtub. The washer was running, and there was a strong smell of bleach in the house.
Later, police learned from Dean Westlake’s girlfriend, who is currently out of state, that Dean was planning to evict Tallon from the house because he had not paid rent in four months. The girlfriend said Tallon was hooked on drugs.
Westlake first ran for the House in 2014 against Barrow Rep. Ben Nageak, who was a Democrat caucusing with the Republican-led majority. In 2016, Westlake ran again with the help of John-Henry Heckendorn and Ship Creek Group, Heckendorn’s start-up full-service campaign company that runs campaigns for Democrat candidates and liberal causes.
That year, the election worker in Shungnak allowed voters to cast two ballots — they could cast a Republican ballot so they could vote for Sen. Lisa Murkowski in the primary, and they could cast a Democrat ballot, so they could vote for the House position. There was a court challenge but the Alaska Supreme Court gave the win to Westlake, even with 50 improperly cast. ballots. Westlake was unopposed in the general election that year.
But the following year, women in the Alaska Capitol complained of his aggressive sexual overtures. He apologized publicly but soon information came out about an incident that happened when he was 28, when he got a 16-year-old girl pregnant.
Westlake resigned and Gov. Bill Walker chose John Lincoln to replace him and fill out the rest of his term. That seat is now represented by Josiah Patkotak of Utqiagvik (Barrow).
Meanwhile, a former staffer of his went public with her criticism of the Democratic Party for not taking such incidences seriously.