Jury now considering Hoonah homicide case

Public defender Eric Hedland uses a picture of seized evidence as part of his closing arguments to the jury on Thursday. Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO News

The defense rested its case and closing arguments were held Thursday, the tenth day of a trial in which prosecutors have alleged that John Marvin Jr. killed two police officers.

Also on Thursday, jurors were provided instructions that would allow them to return a verdict for first degree murder for each of the two officers killed. If they could not be unanimous, then they were instructed to consider a verdict for second degree murder, or a verdict for a lesser charge of manslaughter.

Marvin is accused of shooting Sargent Anthony Wallace and Officer Matthew Tokuoka – who was off-duty — on the evening of August 28, 2010. Both men chatted with family on Front Street in Hoonah when they were both shot twice: Wallace in the back and thigh, and then Tokuoka in the chest when he went to his colleague’s aid. Neither man apparently knew that they were being targeted. Wallace’s mother as well as Tokuoka‘s wife Haley and their children all witnessed the shooting of Wallace. Wallace’s mother Debbie Greene also witnessed the shooting of Matthew Tokuoka.

The theme that emerged from the prosecution was that 2010 shooting may have been retaliation for an August 2009 arrest, while the defense believed that Hoonah officers had already assumed that Marvin was the shooter in August 2010 because of the 2009 incident. Marvin allegedly got into a scuffle with both officers who were responding to a trespass complaint. They had used a taser in an attempt to subdue him.

During the defense’s presentation of witnesses, Marvin’s aunt Harlena Warford testified to his previous neatness and cousin Veronica Dalton testified boarding up the house following the shooting. Former Hoonah Chief of Police Jeff Hankla also gave his version of the August 2009 arrest which he only partially witnessed. Defense attorney Eric Hedland used his testimony to introduce photos showing Marvin’s injuries allegedly sustained at the hands of Tokuoka and Wallace.

Out of the panel of eleven men and two women, one man was excused as an alternate juror following closing arguments.

Ten men and two women will return to the Dimond Courthouse on Friday morning to start deliberations.

It’s always unknown how long a jury takes to deliberate, but they will have to weigh roughly two-hundred pieces of evidence and the testimony of well over a dozen witnesses. It’s unclear at this point if the jury will decide to deliberate over the weekend.

 

Read more about the closing arguments with KTOO’s live blog of the day’s proceedings.

Additional information can be found on KTOO’s Special Projects page devoted to the case.

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