A Juneau man murdered during a hunting trip near Juneau on Sunday leaves behind a grieving wife with one question for his alleged killer: Why?
Mark De Simone, a 53-year-old man couch surfing in Juneau for the past month, was charged Monday with first- and second-degree murder for allegedly shooting and killing 34-year-old Juneau resident Duilio Antonio “Tony” Rosales, who is originally from Nicaragua. De Simone also faces manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide charges.
De Simone appeared in Juneau District Court Tuesday for his arraignment, seemingly unmoved by Rosales’ grieving friends and family members in the room, most notably Rosales’ sobbing widow Maria.
Troopers found Rosales with two bullet holes to the back of his head Sunday night at a private cabin in Excursion Inlet, according to troopers and Juneau prosecutors.
“I shot Tony. I shot him. It’s my fault,” De Simone allegedly confessed to a witness, according to an affidavit filed in court Monday by Juneau Assistant District Attorney Amy Paige.
[To read the affidavit, scroll through the images above.]
Juneau-based Trooper Ryan Anderson responded to the cabin at about 9 p.m. Sunday after someone in the hunting party called the Juneau U.S. Coast Guard using a VHF radio, according to the affidavit. The caller requested a trooper because a man had been shot in the head.
When he arrived on scene, Anderson found the hunting party — six men standing on the beach in front of a cabin, four of them with their hands above their heads.
De Simone was found sitting on a rock off to the side alone and Rosales was located under a picnic table, lying on the ground with two gunshot wounds to the back of his head, the affidavit states.
Seth Bradshaw, a member of the hunting party and witness to the event, told troopers that he was relieving himself behind the cabin when he heard what he thought were two target shots around 7 p.m. When he walked to where the sound came from, he only saw De Simone.
On Tuesday, ADA Paige said investigators believe Rosales was taking off his boots at a picnic bench when De Simone, who was seen drinking alcohol throughout the day, came up behind him and fired two rounds.
“There were two shots from a .41 magnum revolver, which is a difficult firearm to shoot,” Paige said in court. “It requires ... upwards of 8 pounds of pressure to shoot it. So it’s the kind of weapon that if you want to fire it once you have to mean it, to fire it twice means you definitely do.”
De Simone reportedly told Bradshaw “I shot Tony. I shot him. It’s my fault,” then a second witness, Bradshaw’s brother Samuel Bradshaw, said De Simone walked along a trail after the shooting, mumbling something to himself to the effect that he shot Rosales.
According to a family friend, Rosales has lived in Juneau for the past five years. He moved to the capital city from Miami and immediately got a job at the downtown shop The Jewel Box.
Bill Young, the shop’s owner, invited Rosales to Excursion Inlet for a hunting trip he had organized for a group of family and friends from Kansas, said a close family friend of Rosales’ Morgan Cruz. She said Young owns two cabins there.
“They had gone out a week prior and they invited (Rosales) to go out on Friday. They kept bugging him to come down and he wasn’t going to. Then Friday he decided to go down ‘cause they also said they needed supplies,” Cruz said on the phone Tuesday morning.
Cruz said Rosales was supposed to be gone just for the weekend, and then back in Juneau on Monday with the rest of the hunting group.
Cruz said Rosales’s wife, Maria, last spoke with her husband Sunday and he told her he was having fun.
In court Tuesday, Judge Keith Levy allowed Rosales’ widow to make a statement, which was overpowered by long periods of sobbing and resting her head on her arms.
“I just want to ask him why he did that to my husband! Just give me an answer! Why? What’d he do to you (for) you can kill him?” Maria asked.
She told the judge her husband was her only family in Juneau, other than her 5-year-old daughter Ashley. The couple has a second daughter, Emily, in Nicaragua. Maria said her husband was a hard worker who did anything he had to for his family.
Pleading again with the man accused of killing her husband, Maria looked at De Simone and begged him to give her an explanation for her and her daughter.
“Answer my daughter, she’s 5! She’s just asking for him since he left! I have no answer for her,” Maria cried. “What (am I) going to say now that he’s not coming back?”
ADA Paige asked judge Levy to assign a $1 million bail to De Simone, saying he has no true connections to Juneau and could leave if released. Paige said De Simone was born in upstate New York, then lived in Juneau from 1981 to 1988. From there, the DA’s office believes he spent time in Arizona, where he was convicted of felony loitering and later served as an Arizona state legislator.
De Simone was forcibly removed from that job because of a domestic violence assault against his wife in front of the couple’s developmentally disabled daughter, Paige said. The defendant has only recently been in Juneau for approximately one month and was “couch surfing,” and working as day laborer, possibly at the same jewelry shop where the victim worked.
Troopers said De Simone also spells his name without a space, DeSimone, Paige said. Both spellings have been associated with him at some point, and Paige said the DA's office will likely continue to refer to him as De Simone.
Family friend Cruz said Rosales’ family has not heard from Young, but spoke to his wife, Sherry Young, Monday afternoon. They still have no answers as to why their loved one was killed.
Cruz said Rosales’ family plan to have a memorial service for him in Juneau and another in Nicaragua. No dates have been set. Cruz’s mother has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for funeral expenses.
Judge Levy set De Simone’s bail at half a million dollars, with the condition of a third-party custodian if De Simone is released. De Simone’s next court date is currently set for May 27, but it will likely be changed and moved to superior court if he is indicted by a grand jury Friday.
Trooper Information Officer Tim DeSpain said investigators from the Alaska Bureau of Investigation and Juneau-based troopers are investigating the scene together. The investigation is ongoing.
• Empire reporter Lisa Phu contributed to this article.