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The defense rests its case in murder trial

Closing arguments delayed, previously scheduled for 3 p.m.

Posted: November 1, 2012 - 1:13pm

Update: Closing arguments have been delayed in the John N. Marvin Jr. murder trial, as attorneys are still discussing jury instructions.

It was not said what time closing arguments are now slated to begin. They were previously scheduled for 3 p.m. today.

Attorneys are discussing what lesser charges the jury may consider if they acquit Marvin of first-degree murder.

It was already agreed that the jury would be able to consider the lesser charge of manslaughter, a class 'A' felony punishable by up to 20 years.

District Attorney David Brower asked the judge this afternoon if the jury can also consider the lesser charge of second-degree murder. That's an unclassified felony, also punishable by up to 99 years.

Final jury instructions have not yet been finalized. 

Marvin is accused of fatally shooting two police officers in Hoonah in 2010.

•• Original story, posted at 1:13 p.m. ••

The defense has rested its case in the John N. Marvin Jr. murder trial, allowing for closing arguments in the case to be held this afternoon.

Closing arguments are slated to begin at 3 p.m. in Juneau Superior Court. The jury will then choose a jury foresperson and begin deliberations in the case.

Before closing arguments begin, attorneys are scheduled to continue hashing out jury instructions around 1 p.m.

Attorneys also took up jury instruction discussions early this morning outside the presence of the jurors. It was agreed if the jury is unable to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Marvin is guilty of first-degree murder, an unclassified felony punishable by 99 years in prison, they can consider the lesser charge of manslaughter. Manslaughter is a class ‘A’ felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Marvin is charged with two counts of first-degree murder for allegedly causing the deaths of two police officers in Hoonah in 2010. If convicted on those charges, he could be facing life in prison.

Thursday marks the seventh day of the jury portion of the trial. Jury selection took place three days before that.

Marvin is accused of shooting and killing Hoonah Police Department Sgt. Anthony Wallace, and Officer Matthew Tokuoka on Aug. 28, 2010.

Prosecutors say Marvin intended, and did, shoot the officers from the second-story window of his house as the officers and their family members were meeting in a parking lot across the street and to the side of Marvin’s house.

The defense says police assumed Marvin was the shooter based on previous police contact and that no one saw Marvin shoot the officers.

Marvin’s attorney, public defender Eric Hedland, called more witnesses to testify Thursday. Among them was Lisa Wolfe, an EMT who responded to the scene of the shootings almost immediately after they happened.

Wolfe testified she asked Tokuoka who shot him and that he was unable to answer verbally, but shook his head side-to-side, as if to say, “No, I don’t know.”

Tokuoka had been shot twice in the chest, and he died about 10 to 15 minutes after being transported to a local clinic, previous testimony has shown. Wallace, who was shot in the upper back and leg, died about two and a half hours later after being transported to a Juneau hospital by a Coast Guard helicopter.

Jefferson Hankla, who was the Hoonah police chief in 2009, was also called to testify for the defense. Hankla described for the jurors an incident in 2009 where Marvin was arrested by Wallace and Tokuoka following a trespass call. Previous testimony showed Marvin had been Tased.

Hankla described Marvin’s injuries for the jury, and showed them photographs. Marvin was seen photographed in a jail cell with bloody scrapes on his head and arm and a swollen mouth.

Hankla said at one point, Marvin asked him if Hankla could take him home. Hankla told him it was too late for that.

Hankla also noted that after the fatal 2010 shootings, law enforcement did not interview Hankla, which Hankla said was strange.

Another witness for the defense, Veronica Dalton, who is Marvin’s cousin, testified the upstairs window that prosecutors say Marvin used to shoot the officers from, was inaccessible to stand next to due to boxes, a table and other items. Computer screens partially obscured the window, she said. The last time she had been in the house was two to three months before the shootings.

Marvin’s aunt, Harlena Warford, also testified for the defense Thursday, as did Sgt. Wallace’s mother, Deborah Greene.

Marvin declined to testify on his own behalf. The judge presiding over the trial, Sitka Superior Court Judge David George, informed Marvin that it was his right to remain silent, but that he also had the right to testify. When asked what he wanted to do, Marvin responded, “I move remain silent.”

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