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Metlakatla mother testifies in son's murder trial

Posted: June 9, 2013 - 12:19am

KETCHIKAN — An argument over cigarettes between a Metlakatla man and his aunt escalated into a stabbing that killed the woman, according to testimony from the man’s mother.

Marge Buxton testified in the trial of William Buxton, who is charged with first-degree murder in the Sept. 29 death of Leona Meely, 67, at the home all three shared.

Metlakatla is a community of nearly 1,500 on Annette Island, near the tip of the Alaska Panhandle.

William Buxton is the oldest of the six children of Marge Buxton, a lifelong Metlakatla resident. She said William Buxton moved back from Oklahoma in July 2012.

She testified Wednesday she was awakened at 2:30 a.m. Sept. 29 by her sister “screaming” and in a tug-of-war with William Buxton over a jacket that held a pack of cigarettes. She talked her sister into sharing the cigarettes, she said, and they all sat down to watch television.

At around 6 a.m., Marge Buxton went to the kitchen and began making chili. Meely joined her and started making breakfast.

“And then I heard her screaming at the top of her lungs,” Buxton said. Her sister was again arguing with her son, outside the kitchen, this time over a flashlight.

“My sister was very stingy,” Marge Buxton said.

She turned back to the chili and heard a thud, she said. She spotted Meely on the floor and William Buxton a few feet away with his hands on a chair.

“And he said, ‘You want me to hit her with a chair?’ I said ‘no!’” Marge Buxton said.

She tried to pull the chair away but William Buxton pulled free and stomped Meely on the head and chest. William Buxton then dragged his aunt into the kitchen, grabbed a chef’s knife and stabbed Meely in the abdomen, chest and throat, Marge Buxton said.

Buxton called 911 and ran outside screaming. Her son tried to get her to go back into the house, she said, but they instead walked to the village clinic, where William Buxton, bleeding from a hand wound, was arrested.

Emergency medical technician Matthew Bergtold testified that Buxton acknowledged that he had killed his “auntie.”

“His words were that he smelled death” when he saw Meely, Bergtold said.

Buxton told Alaska State Troopers that his hand slipped during the stabbing and the knife had cut it.

Buxton’s public defender, Sam McQuerry, on Thursday questioned Trooper James Kimura, the lead investigator, about interviewing Buxton. The trooper had roused Buxton from a sound sleep in a police holding cell, and the suspect, McQuerry said, kept “nodding off.”

McQuerry asked Kimura whether Buxton comprehended his rights to stay silent and have an attorney present.

“His mind was other places,” Kimura said.

Both the state and the defense wrapped up their cases Thursday, and final arguments were scheduled for Friday.

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