Live Blog: Hoonah homicide trial day 8

By October 30, 2012Crime & Courts

Day eight of the trial in the case of John Marvin, Jr. gets underway on Tuesday. Marvin is accused of causing the deaths of Hoonah police officers Matthew Tokuoka and Sgt. Anthony Wallace on August 28, 2010.

Some of the bagged evidence shown to jurors during the trial of State of Alaska vs. John N. Marvin, Jr. Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO News

District Attorney Dave Brower is prosecuting the case. Sgt. Michelyn Manrique, supervising investigator, is assisting him at the prosecutor’s table with evidence management and is expected to take the witness stand first-thing on Tuesday morning.

Other key characters during the trial include public defender Eric Hedland who has been appointed as Marvin’s attorney. Superior Court Judge David George from Sitka is presiding over the trial.

Other court participants and witnesses during the trial include:

Debbie Greene is the mother of Sgt. Anthony Wallace and Haley Tokuoka is the widow of officer Matthew Tokuoka.

John Millan, who was the chief of police in Hoonah, and Arlen Skaflestad who served as a reserve officer during the shooting. William Wells witnessed part of the shooting from his apartment at Mary’s Inn. Paul Johanson, brother-in-law of Haley Tokuoka, witnessed part of the shooting incident and recovered a bullet or spent slug that may have been fired at the officers.

Physician’s Assistant Jeff Chelmo, former Hoonah officer Paul Comolli, and EMT Wilfred ‘Bill’ Wolfe assisted with the care and treatment of the officers in the clinic following the shooting.

Alaska State Trooper Andrew Adams and Trooper Mark Granda served as investigators following the shooting. Juneau Police Officers Tonya James, Terry Allen, and Kevin Fermin were among those who responded to Hoonah or Bartlett Regional Hospital following the shooting. Alaska State Trooper Paul Wegrzyn was among the contingent of officers who arrived in Hoonah shortly after the shooting as a part of a Special Emergency Response Team.

Johanna Dybdahl is a former spouse of John Marvin.

Paul Johanson, brother-in-law of Haley Tokuoka, Chris Budke of Hoonah, and Mike Lockabey of Wrangell also testified to their involvement in the case.

Recent headlines

Matt Miller October 30, 20124:53 pm

Objection. Bench conference.Back and then Brower with:

“Gunshot residue testing done at lab?”

“One type we do and one type we don’t,” Shem answers.

Jury being sent home for the day.

Matt Miller October 30, 20124:50 pm

Essentially (paraphrasing Shem) a pretty accurate firearm especially if you were going to hit a human-sized target.

Matt Miller October 30, 20124:46 pm

Resumption of testimony… Shem tested Browning for aim and point of impact.

At 50-feet, point of impact was 1.1 inches low and .4 inch to the left.

Matt Miller October 30, 20124:42 pm

One of the female jurors has moved up into the front row seat vacated by the woman who was excused yesterday. Still thirteen on the panel.

Matt Miller October 30, 20124:37 pm

A recovered cartridge also identified as ejected from fired Browning.

Now, Shem is looking at the Wallace patrol vehicle bumper with the bullet grazing. Shem could not associate the damage with any particular gun.

Matt Miller October 30, 20124:32 pm

More fragments: Lead and a fired jacket fragments were of no value or were too deformed for analysis.

Bullet and fragments recovered from Officer Tokuoka’s autopsy identified as being fired from Browning BAR.

Matt Miller October 30, 20124:27 pm

Some confusion about exhibit numbering… up to at least 201 and numbers are being changed around.

Shem just explained that he believes that a recovered fragment had been fired from the BAR.

Another identification on a recovered jacket fragment was not conclusive.

Two small lead fragments were too small and did not have enough detail for any analysis.

Judge George just called for a renumbering of exhibits if a lot of photos have to be matched up with the physical evidence.

Matt Miller October 30, 20124:08 pm

Two of the three rounds allegedly found in the Browning BAR were used for test firing purposes at the lab. They were just pulled out of an evidence bag and Shem has explained the low-velocity test-firing procedure into a cottonbox(sic?).

Brower has shown the fired bullets to the jury.

Matt Miller October 30, 20123:55 pm

Robert Shem, forensic firearm and tool mark identification examiner from the state crime lab just took the stand. He’s reciting his background and experience (work, education, training, professional associations, awards, publications, (patents!), and number of times he’s testified) which is the usual case for forensic examiners who testify in a case.

He’s now explaining a comparison microscope.

(Just guessing here, but he may provide the testimony that links the Browning to the spent slug found on the street and fragments recovered from the officers.)

Matt Miller October 30, 20123:43 pm

Never been a quintillion people on earth. At least not yet.

Probability analysis discussion with deck of cards, getting to the ace of spades.

Now, getting on that plane with 1 in 200 chance of it crashing. (Both from Hedland)

Genetic profiles can match, says Duda. But we never say that the DNA matches. Always say we failed to exclude.

Matt Miller October 30, 20123:37 pm

Duda excused. Short break.

Matt Miller October 30, 20123:18 pm

Hedland’s asking Duda about identity statements for latent fingerprints.

But she specializes in DNA, not fingerprints!

Matt Miller October 30, 20123:03 pm

Duda says she analyzed samples from two guns and a swab of John Marvin’s mouth.

No detectable profiles from samples of one gun. Usually 30% – 50% success rate from contact swabs.

Other gun, multiple samples found. John Marvin could not be excluded.

Never, an identity statement is ever made. Two people could have matching genetic profiles at all sixteen markers.

But she’s talking about 1 in quadrillion, quintillion, and sextillion (!?) to statistically demonstrate the rarity of John Marvin’s profile.

Matt Miller October 30, 20122:49 pm

Another forensic scientist from the state crime lab has taken the stand. Cheryl Duda works as a DNA analyst. She’s explaining the lab’s accreditation and her own proficiency testing routine.

Common sources of DNA include skin cells, blood, semen, saliva, and hair roots. Duda is explaining the collection and analysis routine.

Matt Miller October 30, 20122:39 pm

Minutes ago: Wortman shows where he swabbed the gun to extract skin cells for potential DNA analysis.

Matt Miller October 30, 20122:29 pm

While rough surfaces are good for extracting skin cells for DNA analysis, smooth surfaces are better to identify ridges for latent fingerprint analysis.

Matt Miller October 30, 20122:24 pm

Brower just brought back out the Browning BAR rifle. Wortman just pointed out where he swabbed the gun.

He’s very animated and talks with his hands. Standing up with his white latex gloves still on, he resembles a mime acting out a skit.

Matt Miller October 30, 20122:12 pm

Purposely swabbed rough areas that are likely to retain skin cells.

Matt Miller October 30, 20122:11 pm

State forensic scientist Thomas Wortman has just taken the stand and is giving a primer on latent fingerprint analysis. Pieces of fingerprints found on gun, ridges there, but nothing much to go on.

Wortman notes: Browning BAR with scope and strap… DNA swabs before process for fingerprints.

Matt Miller October 30, 20122:01 pm

Brower returns to questioning of Manrique on re-direct examination. Laser trajectory analysis shows the shots were fired from the upper window of the south side of Marvin’s house. She’s trying to explain the nighttime pictures of the lasers that were discussed when Investigator Mark Granda was on the stand earlier.

(I think I just misspelled parallel.)

Matt Miller October 30, 20121:54 pm

Back from lunch. Jury in the box. Manrique back on the stand. Hedland continuing with cross-examination.

Matt Miller October 30, 20121:52 pm

Alternate view of bumper held by Hedland as it appeared on Sgt. Wallace’s patrol vehicle (parellel to the ground with the tapered end forward). Investigators allege the crease damage was caused by a bullet fired by John Marvin from the second-floor south side window of his house.

Matt Miller October 30, 20121:47 pm

Here’s a picture from before the lunch break: Sgt. Michelyn Manrique, investigative case manager for the Alaska Bureau of Investigation, shows a plastic bumper piece to public defender Eric Hedland under cross examination. The bumper, retrieved from the left front of Wallace’s patrol vehicle, shows a ‘defect’ or crease that was allegedly caused by a bullet fired from John Marvin’s house across Front Street in Hoonah.

Matt Miller October 30, 201212:21 pm

Lunch break called.

Judge George to jury: “Don’t discuss among yourselves. Don’t read newspapers, go online, or anything else.”

Matt Miller October 30, 201212:13 pm

Overheard: “I see we have no media attention for *this* case.”

That comment or paraphrase from the judge presiding over another trial that is also underway in the Dimond Courthouse, as relayed by a former potential juror. The juror got called for the grueling marathon selection process for the Marvin case before the juror was eventually excused. The potential juror, as well as dozens of others from last week, were called back on Monday for a trial about an alleged assault in Skagway.

Matt Miller October 30, 201212:06 pm

“Did I say precise? I’m going to say what I saw.” Manrique under cross-examination by Hedland on the copper tube sighting method.

Vehicle washed before Manrique arrived.

“Was that a good a idea?”

“No, sir!”

Matt Miller October 30, 201212:01 pm

Questions and answers are coming at a rapid clip now about the bumper of Wallace’s vehicle, items found in Marvin’s house, luminol use, protecting the crime scene…

“What are you doing? We haven’t released the scene.” Manrique referring the vigil at the site of the shooting.

“Lots of things to assess (at crime scenes).”

Matt Miller October 30, 201211:53 am

Manrique: “First time I went into Mr. Marvin’s residence, I did not know upper or lower (window where shots were allegedly fired).”

Matt Miller October 30, 201211:51 am

Essentially what Hedland is trying to do is create some ambiguity and doubt about investigators’ use of laser and trajectory analysis. Not precise, Manrique essentially admits.

Some smiles among the jury about the Hedland’s attempts to clearly articulate his questions with him holding up the bumper piece. Now a few laughs in the courtroom. Visual information, like simply holding up the bumper one way and pointing at it in certain way, does not adequately translate to the court’s official audio record. You need to explain it: “Long axis parallel to the ground with the pointy end away…”

Matt Miller October 30, 201211:38 am

Quick exchange between Manrique under cross examination by Hedland on her use of a copper tube lined up on Wallace’s bumper and the bullet groove. Marvin’s upper story window was supposedly sighted through the end of the tube, indicating the suspected source of the rifle fire.

‘Was it the same if you moved the Wallace vehicle left 5 degrees or right?’

‘Didn’t try that.’

‘Was it the same forward or back?’

‘Didn’t try that.’

Vehicles were positioned for the scene creation according to witnesses at the scene of the shooting.

Manrigue: “Nothing is precise. The vehicles had been removed.”

That’s why she says they went back several times to the crime scene.

Matt Miller October 30, 201211:20 am

Manrique: Bumper groove – with vehicle at the scene – lines up with the top window on the south side of John Marvin’s house.

Matt Miller October 30, 201211:18 am

Haley Tokuoka just recalled to the stand to explain a drawing she made and a recreation of the shooting scene.

Sqt. Manrique back on the stand. ‘Defect’ or groove found on driver’s side bumper of Wallace’s patrol vehicle. Piece of bumper just shown.

(Reporter’s speculation: Will this piece of evidence next be linked to the spent bullet found by Paul Johanson at the scene?)

Matt Miller October 30, 201210:32 am

Manrique is now describing photos of Wallace’s ballistics vest carrier and clothing with bullet holes that were found by investigators.

Luminol application to the Front Street scene was done five days after the shooting and after it had rained in Hoonah.

“Did it surprise you that you didn’t find anything?”


Manrique was prepared to draw her own diagram when Hedland objected.

Bench conference, break called, and a hint from Brower that Haley Tokuoka may be recalled to the stand to explain how the shooting scene was recreated with placement of the vehicles.

Matt Miller October 30, 20129:57 am

She’s describing the various elements of the various crime scenes and use of luminol to highlight any possible blood on Front Street.

Matt Miller October 30, 20129:50 am

Sgt. Michelyn Manrique has just taken the stand. She’s the former supervisor with the Alaska Bureau of Investigation. Case manager for the invesitgation. She was in Hoonah on 9/1 until 9/5, Juneau grand jury 9/6, back to Hoonah.

Matt Miller October 30, 20129:47 am

.019 percent ethanol content found in eye fluid extraction.

Matt Miller October 30, 20129:42 am

Back from bench conference… Hedland has shifted to laying the foundation for introduction of the toxicology report.

Matt Miller October 30, 20129:36 am

Toxicology test was done on Wallace. August 31, 2010.Whitmore collected specimen and ordered the test. Report before him on the stand. Whitmore did not do analysis himself.

Hearsay objection from Brower.

Whitmore: “It doesn’t change cause of death.”

Hedland: “….ethanol?…”

Judge George: “Counsel approach.”

Matt Miller October 30, 20129:30 am

Greene has returned.

Whitmore is explaining that trajectory through the body is not necessarily indicative of the original flight path of the bullet. He’s explaining that not everyone is standing up and most people are in motion when they are shot. Entry wound on Wallace’s upper right back was about an inch lower than the exit wound on the front left side.

Matt Miller October 30, 20129:24 am

Dr. Whitmore: Cause of death of Sgt. Wallace = multiple gun shot wounds.

Upper bullet went through left lung. Two rib fractures.

It was too much for Debbie Greene, mother of Sgt. Wallace. She had to leave the courtroom.

Whitmore is describing the use of a steel probe to determine directionality, exit of bullet.

Matt Miller October 30, 20129:18 am

Brower is showing Whitmore those autopsy pictures that were part of the bench conference earlier. Two gun shot wounds. One entered on upper right back and the other on right thigh. Exit wounds too.

Whitmore is showing the pictures to the jury outside the view of observers in the gallery.

(Once again, some of us in the media are getting a fleeting glimpse of the photos. At least one was very disturbing. But out of respect for the deceased, no one is attempting to take pictures of the presentation or publishing of the photos to the jury.)

Whitmore is describing the wounds in the thigh and the fragmentation, and wounds on the back and upper body.

Matt Miller October 30, 20129:05 am

Judge back in at 9:01 and bench conference underway. Even over the white noise generator, it appears that they’re talking about exhibits.

Jury now in at 9:03.

Doctor Robert Whitmore is up next on the stand. He did the autopsy on Sgt. Wallace. Forensic pathologist now in Kern County, Calif. He worked at Alaska Medical Examiner’s office. He’s running down his CV…

Matt Miller October 30, 20129:00 am

Johanna Dybdahl, ex-wife of John N. Marvin, Jr., describes her last conversation with him during testimony on Monday.

Matt Miller October 30, 20128:58 am

Alaska State Trooper Investigator Mark Granda describes using laser trajectory analysis to determine the flight path of bullets that were believed to have killed Tokuoka and Wallace.

Matt Miller October 30, 20128:55 am

Paul Johanson during testimony on Monday points to where he found a slug or spent bullet on Front Street during a vigil a few days after Hoonah Officer Matthew Tokuoka and Sargent Anthony Wallace were shot and killed.

Matt Miller October 30, 20128:53 am

District Attorney Dave Brower shows Paul Johanson, brother-in-law to Haley Tokuoka, some bullet fragments that were entered as evidence during testimony on Monday.

Matt Miller October 30, 20128:49 am

Court convened roughly 8:40 on this snowy morning. Bench conference without the jury present. Then, it appeared District Attorney Dave Brower left to retrieve something…