Wife, mother witness shooting of Hoonah officers
The prosecution says it was done with intent. The defense says there’s no proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Opening arguments and testimony were held Thursday in the trial of a Hoonah man accused of shooting two police officers two years ago.
John N. Marvin, Jr. is accused of killing Officer Matthew Tokuoka and Sargent Anthony Wallace on August 28, 2010. But during opening arguments, District Attorney Dave Brower said Marvin’s encounters with members of the Hoonah police department began over a year earlier. There was an earlier arrest — including a struggle — that stemmed from a home trespass. And — in separate incidents later – a traffic citation and the attempted serving of a letter after an apparent after-hours trespass at a public multi-use building.
Public defender Eric Hedland says it was no secret that Marvin suffers from a serious mental disability. But he also predicted that no witness would testify to actually seeing Marvin with a gun, or actually see him shoot anybody.
Four people testified on Thursday. Haley Tokuoka was first on the stand. She said that her husband Matthew and their two kids had just spent the day fishing and crabbing — “probably the best day of our life as a family.” Then, a big dinner before Matthew had to report for his eleven o’clock Saturday night shift on patrol. In their own vehicle, they turned onto Front Street and pulled over in front of a tractor-trailer that was parked adjacent to the Hoonah Liquor Store. Haley says the plan was to dump the dinner garbage in a dumpster there.
The light was on in Marvin’s house across the street. Tokuoka says he appeared to be slamming a metal box down on the floor repeatedly. She told her husband about the noise.
“I don’t ever call my husband Matthew. I said ‘Matthew!’ He said ‘What?’ ‘Please come here!’,” Haley Tokuoka remembers.
“It looks like John Marvin is going crazy.”
“Let’s just finsh dumping our trash and we’ll go. But don’t look over there and please don’t draw any attention
Wallace pulled up behind the Tokuoka vehicle in a patrol vehicle, briefly squawked the siren and flashed the lights. Riding along was Deborah Greene, Wallace’s mother from Florida who was in town for a few days. Haley and Matthew went back to talk to Greene who was still in the vehicle. They mentioned the earlier commotion, but Wallace shined his flashlight at Marvin’s house.
“What the f*** are you doing?” Haley remembers Matthew asking Anthony.
Perhaps embarrassed by a subordinate, Wallace went to the Tokuoka vehicle to play with the kids through an open window. His back was to Marvin’s house when Greene watched him fall to the ground.
“Then Matt told Haley to get the f*** out of there,” remembers Greene.
Tokuoka went to Wallace who had crumbled to the ground. Greene was still in the police vehicle just feet away. She grabbed the vehicle radio.
“Officer down!… Officer down!”
Matthew Tokuoka pulled Wallace out so he wouldn’t get run over as Haley Tokuoka got in the vehicle and drove the kids away to her parent’s house. Greene, a nurse, got out to go to her son. She let him know that he was not shot in the head as he had thought.
“I turned to look at Matt and he got two shots in the chest,” said Greene. “He fell. And then I held his hand and my son’s hands.”
Greene then went back to the patrol vehicle.
“Another officer down!.. Another officer down!”
Haley Tokuoka learned later that her husband was also shot moments after she left.
Police Chief John Millan and reserve officer Arlen Skaflestad were next on the scene. Millan directed Greene to drive the police vehicle to a safe place and the fallen officers were loaded into back of Skaflestad’s truck.
Each of the Tokuokas later ended up at the clinic: Matthew dying from two gunshot wounds in the chest and Haley trying to have some last words with him.
Brower says Wallace – who suffered gun shot wounds in the back — survived until after he was transported to Juneau.
Testimony ended Thursday with Millan on the stand, describing why he left his job and Hoonah. He said he could not deal with the loss of two officers and driving by the scene everyday. He admitted some survivor’s guilt and a back injury that was aggravated by helping evacuate the two officers.
Hoonah resident William Wells recalled his observations from his apartment above the nearby Mary’s Inn. In addition to describing how the officers went down, Wells reported two shots, followed later by another shot, and a fourth shot much later when no one was around. But he did not recall seeing Greene there.
Prosecution witnesses will continue taking the stand Friday and Saturday to testify about the response leading up to the arrest of Marvin over a day after the shooting.