Marvin not competent for trial in police shootings

The Hoonah man accused of shooting two Hoonah police officers to death in August 2010 was declared legally incompetent to stand trial, for now.

Psychologist Dr. Joseph Sperbeck testified Monday that John N. Marvin, 46, is currently unable to assist his attorney in his defense, according to the court notes of Monday’s hearing. Sperbeck described Marvin as being hostile and uncooperative, with paranoid personality traits.

However, there is a high likelihood Marvin’s competency can be restored within three to six months, possibly with the help of medication, Sperbeck said according to the court’s notes. He was deemed legally competent in multiple areas, Sperbeck indicated.

Sitka Superior Court Judge David George said that the preponderance of evidence suggests Marvin is presently legally incompetent and committed Marvin to Alaska Psychiatric Institute for competency rehabilitation.

That issuance puts a hold on all other proceedings in the case until early April, when the court will hold a review hearing in the case.

George did not order any forced medication, but said the court may have to deal with that at some point, court notes indicate.

Marvin’s trial competency can still be determined later during his commitment at API, at which point the court would hold a hearing to re-set the trial date.

A trial date had been set for Jan. 30 back in October of 2011.

Marvin faces first-degree murder charges in the deaths of Anthony Wallace, 32, and Matthew Tokuoka, 39. He is also charged with weapons misconduct.

In September, three expert witnesses testified on whether they believed Marvin was legally competent to stand trial. One determined he was, one determined he was not, and the third, Sperbeck, evaluated Marvin for culpability and not competency.

George, Public Defender Eric Hedland and District Attorney David Brower all agreed then to ask Sperbeck to evaluate Marvin over a set period of time, and use that evaluation as the determining factor. They believed the two environments of the other evaluations contributed to their outcomes.

Sperbeck said Monday that Marvin was refuses to cooperate and cannot make it through a 15 minute interview due to his hostility and evasiveness. A comprehensive and detailed interview with psychological testing is necessary to determine his competency, he said. It was noted in court Marvin had fashioned a knife-like blade out of foil at API, although he didn’t assault anyone and stayed to himself.

George scheduled the next hearing within 90 days on April 6.

• Contact reporter Emily Russo Miller at 523-2263 or at


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