A jury in Juneau has convicted a man accused of shooting and killing two Hoonah police officers on two counts of first-degree murder.
The 12 jurors reached their verdict at noon on Saturday after deliberating for a total of 11 hours. It was announced at about 12:45 p.m.
John N. Marvin Jr., 47, will be sentenced at a later date. He faces life in prison.
Marvin was also facing weapons misconduct charges, but those were dismissed by prosecutors after the verdict on the murder charges were announced. A scheduling hearing in the case was set for Feb. 1, 2013.
The verdict was read aloud by the judge who presided over the week-long trial in Juneau Superior Court, Sitka Superior Court Judge David George. He will also deliver sentencing.
The verdict elicited tears from family members of the slain officers, Sgt. Anthony Wallace, 32, and Officer Matthew Tokuoka, 39. The family members — Wallace’s mother, Deborah Greene, and Tokuoka’s widow, Haley Tokuoka, who both were present at the time of the fatal Aug. 28, 2010, shootings — have been sitting in the gallery of the courtroom for the past week, watching the trial.
After the verdict was read, they hugged each other, District Attorney David Brower and his staff and the five or so uniformed Juneau Police Department officers who were in the courtroom to show their support.
“Thank you,” Mrs. Tokuoka told one of the officers in between sobs.
Greene and Tokuoka were not immediately available for comment.
Outside the courtroom, Brower said that any time a jury comes back with a verdict, whether he agrees with it or not, justice is served.
“In this case, this was the verdict I asked for,” Brower told reporters. “So I’m glad they came back with it.”
The two officers were fatally shot on the main street in Hoonah as they were socializing with their family members in a parking lot next to a liquor store. Prosecutors argued Marvin shot them in cold blood from the second-story window of his nearby house.
In addition to deciding whether Marvin committed first-degree murder, the jurors were also asked to find a sentencing enhancement. The enhancement deals with whether Wallace and Tokuoka were uniformed or otherwise clearly identified as police officers when they were shot.
The jury announced that they did find that special enhancement in the case of Wallace, but not for Tokuoka. Wallace was in a police uniform and was driving a marked police vehicle immediately before he was shot, whereas Tokuoka was in plainclothes and driving a personal vehicle immediately before he was shot, testimony during the trial showed.
Because the jury found the enhancement for Wallace, that means Marvin will be facing a flat sentence of 99 years in prison for that conviction. Since the jury did not find that enhancement for Tokuoka, Marvin will be facing a range of prison time from 20 to 99 years for that conviction. (The 20 to 99 year range is the standard prison sentence range for any first-degree murder conviction.)
“If someone is convicted of murder in the first-degree of a uniformed or otherwise clearly identified police officer, who is engaged in the performance of official duties, the sentence is 99 years,” Brower said.
Those finding mean Marvin could potentially be sentenced to serve two 99-year prison sentences, essentially guaranteeing he will spend the rest of his life in prison.
“Well, that’d be my guess,” Brower said when asked by a reporter if Marvin will spend his life in prison. “Yes. I think he’s 45 now, and if he gets a sentence of 99 years, do the math.”
Brower continued to say in an interview that this case was probably the most complicated he had ever litigated in his 20 years as a prosecutor.
“I certainly could not have done it myself, and I certainly did not do it myself” he said.
Brower added that while he was the lead prosecutor, “innumerable” people assisted him, and it was a team effort.
“I had a lot of help, both in my office, law enforcement and just Office of Special Prosecutions and Appeals,” he said.
Public defender Eric Hedland, who represented Marvin, was not immediately available for comment. After the verdict was read, Hedland asked the judge to individually poll the 10 men and two women who comprised the jury panel, to ensure that their votes were accurately reflected by the verdict that was announced.
Marvin was transported to prison by two security officers in a dark blue mini-van with tinted windows, seen driving out of the parking garage of the Dimond Courthouse.
Also seen walking out of the courthouse with another judge about a half an hour after the proceedings was the Judge George.
“Back to Sitka,” he said.