May 21, 2015
Contact: Jodie Underwood
Phone Number: (206) 553-1162
Three Life Sentences Imposed On Man Following Convictions For Drug Trafficking, Kidnapping, Using Firearms, And HIPAA Violations
ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Stuart T. Seugasala, 40, of Anchorage, was sentenced on May 18, 2015, to three terms of life imprisonment following his January 2015 convictions on drug trafficking conspiracy and two kidnapping charges. The court imposed a consecutive seven year sentence on firearms violations, as well as concurrent ten year terms of convictions for unauthorized access to private health (HIPAA). There is no parole in the federal penal system. Seugasala will spend the rest of his natural life behind bars.
According to information presented to the court by the government, Seugasala had previously been convicted of drug trafficking in 2000 and served over nine years in prison. Following his release, Seugasala returned to Anchorage, Alaska where he opened and operated a video gaming place that catered to youths called “Friendly Fire.” Seugasala also returned to drug trafficking. In late 2012 to early 2013, Seugasala became associated with Phosavan Khamnivong, a convicted murderer who served eight years of a 20 year sentence. The men started bringing nearly pure methamphetamine, as well as other drugs, into Alaska from California. On March 13, 2013, Seugasala, Khaminvong, Timothy Miller, and Anoai Sialofi, kidnapped, tortured, and sexually assaulted two men because one of the men owed Khamnivong a past due heroin debt. At Seugasala’s direction, the sexual assault of one of the victims was videotaped so that he could intimidate others that owed the group money. The victims were released after over three hours, and only after one of the victims agreed to repay the drug debt.
One of the victims was so severely injured that he was admitted to Providence Hospital. On March 15, 2013, Seugasala became so upset at other patrons dining at the Denny’s Restaurant on Benson, in Anchorage, that he followed them while they drove south on the Seward Highway and shot several times at their moving car, hitting it several times. The driver of the target car suffered a neck grazing bullet wound and a severed fingertip wound. The driver also admitted himself to Providence Hospital. On or about March 17, 2013, Seugasala called Stacy Laulu, a friend of his who worked at Providence Hospital, to find out if the victims of his crimes had reported him to the police. Laulu accessed the private electronic medical files of the victims and reported back to Seugasala. Laulu went to trial with Seugasala in January and was convicted of violating the privacy rights of the victims. She is due to be sentence on May 29, and faces up to ten years of imprisonment. Timothy Miller was previously sentenced to a term of 12 years imprisonment and Anoai Sialofi to a term of 235 months imprisonment. Khamnivong is due to be sentenced on June 10, 2015.
Judge Beistline specifically condemned the video of the sexual assault, which was introduced into evidence at trial, on which Seugasala can be heard and seen torturing one of the victims. “This video is who you are. You enjoyed the drama, the power, the torture, and the sex assault. You were the one that asked that it be created, so you could re-live the excitement, to brag, and to use it for intimidation.” Judge Beistline openly wondered “how a human gets to the point where he treats other people in such an inhumane way.” Judge Beistline described Seugasala’s actions as “so far beyond the pale it is difficult to describe the revulsion the community feels for these crimes.”
Seugasala received maximum ten-year sentences on the HIPAA convictions, the first in the history of Alaska and one of few such cases prosecuted in the country. Judge Beistline noted that in committing these violations, which involved obtaining the victims’ private medical information, Seugasala “disrespected the victims again.”
Judge Beistline noted that life imprisonment was appropriate because Seugasala “cannot be deterred, so the public needs to be protected from you.” The fact that Seugasala committed these crimes while on supervised release for prior drug felonies also demonstrated that he could not be adequately supervised.” Judge Beistine also imposed a seven year sentence on firearms violations, to run consecutively to the life sentences, as mandated by federal law.
The investigation was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the United States Marshals Service, the Anchorage Police Department, the Alaska State Troopers, and the Valdez Police Department.