The Chulitna Charmer

Paul Stavenjord

People move to the Alaska wilderness either because they enjoy solitude and crave a subsistence lifestyle or because they wish to escape society. People who fall into this second category are either misfits who don’t know how or don’t want to blend in with others, or they are criminals, seeking to escape arrest and hoping to disappear into the vast wilderness. Many of my episodes have dealt with individuals who ran to Alaska from a life of crime elsewhere. They might have hoped to turn their lives around but instead, most brought their problems and psychopathic tendencies with them.

Until Memorial Day weekend in 1997, Paul Stavenjord seemed to have succeeded at escaping his criminal past, but then something in him snapped, leaving two people dead and forever altering the course of Stavenjord’s life.


Ice Cold Killers. Season 1, Episode 3. Mountain Man

Brennan, Tom. 2003. The Bank Robber Next Door. Murder at 40 Below. Epicenter Press

Stavenjord V. State: Available at:

Convicted murderer’s appeal denied. Available at:


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Robin Barefield is the author of four Alaska wilderness mystery novels, Big Game, Murder Over Kodiak, The Fisherman’s Daughter, and Karluk Bones. Sign up to subscribe to her free, monthly newsletter on true murder and mystery in Alaska.