One challenge with preparing for a cold case trial is accounting for the change of technology since the crime occurred, Anchorage attorneys are finding.
As Juneau men Duwaine Price and Browne Larry Willard III await trial for the 1995 murder of Jerry Dillivan in Anchorage, their lawyers and the prosecution are sifting through large amounts of discovery. They don’t even have large portions of discovery from early in the investigation, Anchorage District Attorney Rick Allen said Monday, because the audio is on cassette tapes.
“We’re going through the slow process of converting that to digital media,” Allen said.
Allen said he isn’t sure how many hours of audio there are in those cassettes, and that he hasn’t even started to delve into them.
The trial is scheduled for July 23, but Allen said that the trial will be pushed back.
“The trial’s not going to happen in July,” Allen said. “That trial’s a ways off. We’re still providing discovery and getting requests from the defense about certain things and helping them out with that.”
Allen said murder trials usually take at least a year or more from the time a defendant is indicted to the time a trial starts, so this timeline is not unusual.
Price and Willard were indicted Dec. 19, 2017, both on charges of second-degree murder. Price is currently 49 and Willard is 45, and both were living in Juneau at the time of the indictment, according to a release from the State of Alaska Department of Law. They were arrested on Dec. 20 in Juneau, according to the release, by the Juneau Police Department’s SWAT team.
The two men are currently in custody in Anchorage, Allen said. Allen said progress in the case has been slow. Each of them faces a potential sentence of 99 years in prison, according to the release.
Price and Willard are accused of killing Dillivan, 25, on Nov. 21, 1995. At about 7:22 a.m. that day, a 911 caller reported that she came to work at the Texaco station on Muldoon Road in Anchorage to find Dillivan dead behind the building, according to the release. The investigation into the case went cold, until a Crime Stoppers tip and a later DNA match helped point to Price and Willard, prosecutors say.
• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at 523-2271 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy.