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Press Release

Jimmy Cates Indicted for Arson Homicide

March 30, 2017

(ANCHORAGE, Alaska) 51 year old Jimmy Cates was indicted today for causing the death of Peijun Li on January 23, 2017 at her midtown Anchorage residence. The grand jury indicted Cates on 11 charges, including murder in the first degree and arson in the first degree.

At approximately 1:39 a.m. on January 24, 2017, the 911 caller reported a fire at an apartment complex on West 23rd Avenue. Anchorage Police and Fire responded and found one of the units on fire. Anchorage Firefighters entered and found a deceased woman (Peijun Li) inside the apartment. The State Medical Examiner’s Office later determined that Li suffered smoke inhalation and had been strangled. Anchorage Police Detective Ross Henikman was able to identify Cates as a suspect in the death of Li through surveillance video.

If convicted at trial, Cates faces a sentence of 25 to 99 years in prison for murder in the first degree charge. A defendant’s sentence is determined by the judge who must consider the circumstances of the offense, the impact on the victim and the community, and the potential for rehabilitation of the defendant. The charges in the indictment are only allegations and are not evidence of guilt. The defendant is presumed innocent and is entitled to a fair trial at which the prosecution must prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Cates is in the custody of the Department of Corrections. He is being held on bail requiring $500,000 cash or corporate appearance bond, a $500,000 cash performance bond and a court-approved third party custodian.

CONTACT: District Attorney Clint Campion at (907) 269-6300 or More information about the Anchorage District Attorney’s Office is available at

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