The trial of a man accused of a 2016 murder has been pushed back repeatedly over the past year, and court officials hope they have a firm trial date set now.
At a hearing Thursday, defendant Mark Anthony De Simone, was present as Juneau Superior Court Judge Philip Pallenberg scheduled his murder trial for April 23. The pretrial hearing is scheduled at 8:30 a.m. April 16, with the trial also starting at 8:30 a.m. a week later.
De Simone, 55, will go on trial for the 2016 murder of 34-year-old Duilio Antonio “Tony” Rosales on a hunting trip on May 15, 2016.
The trial was originally set for August 2016 and has been pushed back time and time again for various reasons. Pallenberg said he wanted both parties to do everything they can to make this new date work.
“It’s about as close to a certain date I think we can do,” Pallenberg said. “I don’t want everyone to think we’re going to just keep pushing it off and pushing it off.”
The trial was scheduled to start this week, but was then pushed back to what Pallenberg called a “very tentative” date of Jan. 29 before they began to figure out a new date. Now, due to the availability of key witnesses in the case, the trial will start in the spring.
On the night of May 15, 2016, Alaska State Troopers found Rosales at a private cabin in Excursion Inlet, with two bullet holes in the back of his head. Rosales and De Simone were on a hunting trip along with a few others, and according to an affidavit filed in the case, De Simone admitted to multiple members of the hunting party that he was the one who shot Rosales.
Maria Rosales, the widow of Rosales, was available over the phone at Thursday’s hearing. Pallenberg pointed out that she had a right to share her opinion on the scheduling of the trial. She kept her comment very brief.
“I want this to be over, that’s it,” she said. “But if I have to wait, I can wait.”
De Simone served as a state legislator in Arizona after living in Juneau from 1981 to 1988. According to reports at the time, De Simone had moved back to Juneau shortly before the hunting trip in May 2016.
Assistant District Attorney Amy Paige and De Simone’s public defender Deborah Macaulay went back and forth about possible dates, listing when witnesses would be available. Paige said multiple state troopers who will testify are scheduled for long absences in February and March. She also pointed out that multiple witnesses were planning on the trial being in January, so they made their travel plans for later in the year.
Paige and Macaulay said the trial should last about three weeks.
• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at 523-2271 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy.