Opening arguments are now planned for Thursday morning in the trial of a Hoonah man accused of killing two police officers. After three days of interviews with prospective jurors, a jury was seated Wednesday afternoon in the case of State of Alaska vs. John N. Marvin, Jr.
Fourteen men and women will hear the case. As per usual routine in Juneau Superior Court, two of the jurors will be randomly selected as alternates and dismissed before deliberations get underway.
Marvin was arrested in late August 2010 after he allegedly shot Matt Tokuoka and Tony Wallace and then held other officers in a stand-off for about a day.
After three previous hearings to determine whether Marvin was mentally capable to assist his attorney with his defense at trial, jury selection officially started on Monday with 255 Juneau residents initially asked to report for jury duty. Of that, ninety potential jurors survived two long days of individual interviews about pre-trial media coverage and potential bias.
Based on comments made by prospective jurors, public defender Eric Hedland made a motion on Wednesday to change the venue or move the trial out of Juneau. But Superior Court Judge David George denied the motion.
- “So what we’re seeing here is a giant step — a beautiful step — backward in time, where we’re remembering that there is no us versus them. There’s only us, and we are the people, and the people are the police."
- Eaglecrest Ski Area is opening this year ahead of schedule.
- Alaska and British Columbia signed a memorandum of understanding Wednesday expected to increase the state’s role in transboundary mine decisions.
- New rules could make it possible to develop more renewable energy in Alaska, by making it easier for independent projects to sell their power to the grid.
On re-cross: Hedland is trying to pin down Millan on the identity of the shooter.
“He was no longer saying ‘John’ as Chief John Millan…”
Hedland has picked up on some apparent discrepancies in earlier inteviews. Millan was interviewed by 24 hours after the incident by troopers and his account to the then-DA doesn’t quite match up. But Millan says he was tired after the worst day of his life. Millan says he may’ve initially mistook Tony Wallace’s “John” comment while laying in the street as a direct reference to him rather than the defendant across the street.
Done for today. Saturday session likely. Prosecution may rest on Tuesday.
Matt said he couldn’t feel his legs. Tony moved Millan’s hand-with-pistol toward where the shots originated. “John”
Besides ADA Angie Kemp, Brower is joined at the prosecutor’s table by Sgt. Michelyn Manrique, formerly with the Alaska Bureau of Investigation and supervising investigator at the scene. It’s possible that she may also testify later.
Deborah Green and Haley Tokuoka have resumed their places in the front of the gallery. Other visitors have drifted in-and-out of the courtroom throughout the day, including other Juneau attorneys and police officers unrelated to the case.
Millan did say that Marvin was irate and profane when he and Wallace made that earlier visit at his home.
Millan says he observed Marvin suffering from mental health issues, but nothing violent. Millan was in court once when Marvin arrived for traffic citation.
Hedland: “He told you he was Russian royalty and had diplomatic immunity?” Yes, he did.
Now back to Millan’s observances of the scene when he arrived. Tokuoka’s vehicle was already gone when he arrived but Green was still in Wallace’s vehicle where it was parked.
Cross examination by Hedland: Millan says he just had leave the job and leave Hoonah. The emotional toll of driving by the scene everyday, two of his officer’s killed, survivor’s guilt, and re-injured back all combined to force him to leave the town and leave law enforcement.
Defendant John Marvin (left) and public defender Eric Hedland (right) during a brief break during Thursday’s trial proceedings.
Assistant District Attorney Angie Kemp, who’s assisting Brower at this trial, is actually working the computer for the radio playback. Brower resumes questioning about Millan at the scene…. keeping a visual… positioned toward Icy Strait Point, street and shoreline… “I saw lights coming on and off in the living room area” of Marvin’s house.
Wallace and Tokuoka were loaded up into reserve officer Arlen Skaflestad’s truck and moved away across the street at an ambulance staging area. Green was still in Wallace’s patrol vehicle, and Millan asked her to move it away.
Millan briefly moved away from the “kill zone.” He and Skaflestad both positioned himself to watch corners of the house. Various other Hoonah residents showed up to assist Millan.
He did not see anyone go in or out of Marvin’s house. But he did not see him in the house.
John Millan is back on the stand. Jury back in. More radio traffic.
“We’ve been ambushed!”
“By the liquor store…..Shots have been fired. Officer down.”
Call the Coast Guard. We need a medevac. We need a SWAT team down here, ASAP.
Brower is playing segments of the radio traffic and Millan is identifying each voice.
Hoonah resident William Wells points to his location as he observed the shootings of Tokuoka and Wallace and the resulting chaos. The two vehicles are the small rectangles above his finger, then the semi-trailer further up, and then the liquor store adjacent to the trash dumpster. The line that curved down to the right is the observed escape route of the Tokuoka vehicle.
Former Hoonah Police Chief John Millan glances at the jury during his testimony. He’s expected to return to the stand momentarily.
Bench conference or sidebar in progress.
Millan was in the midst of describing arriving on the scene.
Judge calls for 15 minute break.
Brower is again showing picture of police vehicle parked behind another vehicle that is meant represent Tokuoka’s pick-up truck. Some distance n front of the pick-up was the liquor store.
Portion of radio traffic again… Tokuoka and Millan… dispatcher… “I’ll be there in about 20 seconds.” “There’s an officer down, 101.” Millan did not initially recognized Tokuoka’s voice.
“Oh, s***!” when chief arrives and sees both officers on the ground.
Deborah Green and Haley Tokuoka are upset again in the gallery.
Millan is describing injuries he saw. Draws pistol…
Hedland objection on heresay. Wallace comments?
Chaos on the radio… location? drove toward liquor store in unmarked vehicle… went down Grant to Raven to main intersection on Front Street… then toward parking lot of liquor store.
Millan saw both officers laying side-by-side on the ground, eyes open, and Wallace’s vehicle was still there.
Millan now describing events of August 28th. Dispatch call about head injured Wallace dispatched to at ANB hall… 22:00…get out of shower, he heard unfamiliar voice on the radio: “Officer down. Officer down.”
John Millan, chief of police at the time, has taken the stand. He predominately did day shift and other officers did evenings. He’s describing how he spaced out shifts and coverage. He gave notice to Marvin not to be on Hoonah City School property… Judge called brief bench conference… Brower back on same line of questioning. Millan says Marvin apparently became profane and irate. Wallace was with Millan during the visit to Marvin’s home in March or April of 2010.
Blown up photo of officers Matt Tokuoka and Tony Wallace.
Under cross by Hedland, Wells clarifies that the red-pickup standard cab had at lesst two people in it, maybe three. It was the truck parked between the semi-trailer and Wallace’s patrol vehicle at the scene.
Wells heard two shots, then one, and then another one later. He saw the Tokuoka pick up pull away from the scene as Matt stayed at the scene.
“Matt said ‘Please stop, John. You don’t have to do this.'” Third shot.
Response included another arriving truck which included putting an injured officer into the back.
Hoonah resident William J. Wells just took the stand. He has drawn a diagram of the scene which Brower has blown up and put on an eisle stand.
Green says she can not say for sure that the defendant is the same person that she saw in the house across the street that day.
Now under cross-examination by Hedland… heard a couple shots, 3 or 5? like a handgun? orientation? from the dumpster? “I remember seeing smoke, I thought. But I don’t know.”
Green had not been to Hoonah before and did not know John Marvin
Green, a nurse, says she can’t remember all the details about what else she said on the radio, driving away in one of the vehicles, getting to the clinic.
Tony was facing the water and back toward the houses.
Green says she stayed in Hoonah until after the funeral service.
Deborah Green gets on the radio. Matt goes to respond to his colleague. She watches Matt get two shots in the chest. Back on police radio. Officer down.
“Tony fell and he said he’d been shot.”
“‘Matt! I’ve been shot'”
Out to the cannery, doing radar, and a vehicle driving really slow…
She’s trying to remember Tony and her pulling up behind the parked Tokuoka vehicle. Lights on briefly and Tony gets out and walks up to the Tokuokas.
Tony brings over the couple to meet his mom and then walks back to visit with Tokuoka kids in their vehicle.
Back from lunch. Deborah Green has just taken the stand and she’s describing a ride-along with her son Tony Wallace.
Using pictures introduced as evidence, Haley Tokuoka describes the scene where her husband Matt and fellow Hoonah officer Tony Wallace were shot on August 28, 2010.
Haley Tokuoka’s testimony included different emotional states during the three segments that she was on the stand. Obviously, she was very upset during her initial testimony that described the shooting and her husband’s passing. Then — under cross-examination by Hedland — she seemed a little on edge, but not to the extent of being antagonistic. She just had a hard time following or answering his questions. After a short bathroom break, she was much more relaxed as she continued with Hedland and then redirect by Brower.
Back from break. Under cross examination, Tokuoka says she saw something in the window of Marvin’s house — like a barrel of a gun — that appeared to be a weapon. But she couldn’t definitively say it was a gun.
Redirect examination from DA Dave Brower on Marvin in the window of his house with lights on, then off.
Hedland was going to ask Tokuoka about a drawing or diagram when she asked for a short break.
Hedland is asking questions that Tokuoka can’t answer or can’t recall such as a previous appearance before a grand jury. Tokuoka is now recounting her earlier meetings with the defendant in Hoonah and another encounter when her husband was injured.
Public defender Eric Hedland now immediately cross-examining Haley Tokuoka over the pictures previously introduced. Some of the depictions of the scene such as those of the vehicles were later recreated, at the direction of Haley, after the incident. The windows at Marvin’s house appear to be shot out.
“He passed. He wasn’t hurting anymore.”
Haley Tokuoka describes leaving the scene with the kids and later hearing that another officer had shot. She went to the clinic and visited her husband in the emergency room as Matt Tokuoka’s breaths were getting shorter and his belly was filling up with blood. He had been shot twice in the chest. Tony Wallace was also in the ER.
Most of the jurors are not taking notes. They’re listening the compelling and emotional testimony from Tokuoka. Two of the jurors are looking down as Haley recounts some of the last moments of her husband in the emergency room.
After officer Tony Wallace pulled up behind the Tokuoka vehicle, they chatted. But then Wallace — even though he was warned about not drawing attention from Marvin — took out a Mag-lite flashlight and shined it toward the Marvin house.
“Tony, what the f*** are you doing!”
Wallace then went to visit with Tokuoka children in their vehicle.
Haley Tokuoka now describing the hectic moments following the first shot at Wallace.
“Matthew! It looks like John Marvin is going crazy.” Haley Tokuoka says her husband then said don’t do anything to attract Marvin’s attention across the street.
Military ammo box or something similar being slammed down repeatedly in Marvin’s house before the shooting.
She’s done describing pictures and back to how they parked to dump garbage at a dumpster in town.
Haley Tokuoka is describing pictures taken at the scene and how both police vehicles were parked.
August 28, 2010: “Probably the best day of our life as a family.” Haley Tokuoka describes a nice day in Hoonah going fishing and crabbing, and eating dinner.
Haley Tokuoka, widow of officer Matt Tokuoka, taking the stand.
Back on record. Jury still out. In-court clerk jiggled an audio connection in the back. We’re A-OK. Thank you!
Some of the witnesses beginning to gather in the lobby area outside of the courtroom. With the exception of the investigation supervisors and family of the deceased officers, all of the potential witnesses will remain outside the courtroom until they called to the stand. That’s so the testimony of a witness is not colored by the previous testimony of another.
Courtroom cleared so that defendant John Marvin can be unshackled and escorted to a bathroom or the courthouse holding cell. Jurors and spectators are not allowed to see that. Marvin appears to be wearing an open-front grey sweater over what appears to be a white dress shirt.
Spectators and members of the media only had a few minutes to get settled before Judge David George entered and got things started. Not enough time to troubleshoot a bad connection from the courtroom’s audio system. Audio was clean and solid during jury selection on Monday, but it’s been largely unusable today and yesterday. Brower was “off-mic” or away from the courtroom’s microphones during this morning’s opening arguments. So, that didn’t help. The poor audio is the reason why there were no actualities from change-of-venue arguments during this morning’s newscasts. Hopefully, I’ll have enough time to fix it or figure out a work around.
More instructions on the prosecution’s burden of proof and reasonable doubt threshold…
Jurors getting a primer on credibility of witnesses, circumstantial evidence versus direct physical evidence. Snowfall example again.
Twenty-minute break coming up.
Judge George now reading instructions to jury.
“Don’t let yourself be affected by sentiment, passion, or public opinion.”
Instructions also on retaining or disregarding information following objections.
Hedland wraps up his opening arguments after a little over thirty minutes.
Hedland says don’t expect to see or hear evidence about a lot of alcohol or drugs, manifesto or threatening letters.
“..robot that occurred…” – meaning robot sent into Marvin’s house by responding officers afterward.
Brief description of negotiations and robot that occurred after the shooting.
“John Marvin identified as a shooter either inferentially or verbally.”
“No witness reported seeing Mr. Marvin with a gun. No witness reported seeing Mr. Marvin shoot anybody.”
Hedland says expect to hear or see contradictory evidence from the prosecution.
Hedland is going back over some of the events. Matt Tokuoka, not in uniform, was apparently disposing of garbage after a family outing or dinner. Tony Wallace arrived in a patrol vehicle with mom Debbie Green during a ride-along.
Hedland is describing Marvin’s apparent mental deterioration over the years and previous confrontations with Hoonah officers. He also suggests that the radio traffic presented by Brower may have been compressed or edited to remove the non-voice portions.
Hedland is recounting a 2009 trespass call that allegedly involved Marvin, tasing incident.
“It’ll be no secret that Mr. Marvin suffers from a serious mental disability.”
Public defender Eric Hedland makes his opening arguments after jurors were excused briefly for a short break.
Brower talks softly while finishing with the closing argument. Essentially, he previewed some of the witnesses and evidence that jurors will see.
Brower is describing officer injuries.
Radio call playback has ended. Brower is continuing to describe events after the officers were shot.
Opening arguments by DA Dave Brower include Hoonah Police dDpartment radio traffic of incident. Officer family members, other officers in courtroom gallery are upset.
Eleven men and three women file in at 9:20. Some comments and instructions from the judge.
Opening arguments are scheduled to start at or about 9 a.m. But events in court rarely go exactly as planned or adhere to a strict schedule.