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Man guilty of killing Fairbanks store clerk

Posted: Wednesday, August 01, 2007

FAIRBANKS - A man was found guilty on Monday in the killing of a young convenience store clerk 12 years ago.

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A jury found Marvin Wright guilty in the murder of Tricia Warren, a 19-year-old mother of two boys, at the Tesoro 7-Eleven Discount Truck Stop. The jury in Superior Court found Wright guilty of first- and second-degree murder, robbery and tampering with evidence.

Wright faces the possibility of life in prison. His sentencing is set for February.

Warren was found dead by an Alaska State Trooper on the morning of Sept. 5, 1995, after being shot twice in the head. The store's cash register was emptied.

The case went unsolved until 2005 when Fairbanks police reopened the case. A grand jury indicted Wright, a longtime suspect, on a murder charge late in 2005. Wright was serving an 18-year sentence in federal prison on drugs and weapons convictions at the time of the indictment.

The jury took one day to reach its verdict after a four-week trial before Judge Niesje Steinkruger in which several of Wright's friends and associates implicated him in the murder.

Prosecutors relied on testimony from Wright's former cellmate at the Fairbanks Correctional Center, two former girlfriends, a former drug dealer and former drug users. Some of whom said they accompanied Wright to the truck stop and others claimed he bragged about the killing.

Shannon Boyle, a former girlfriend of Wright's, testified about what she had seen at the truck stop after keeping quite for years because she feared for her life.

Fairbanks police detective Peyton Meredith, who was responsible for re-opening the case, buried his face in his hands when the guilty verdict was read.

"I think that's what the evidence supported and the state did a good job presenting its case," said Meredith, after embracing Warren's parents outside the courtroom. "Hopefully this will bring some closure for the family."

"Twelve long years," said Carol Rhoade-Gratias, Warren's mother, still sobbing outside the courtroom after the verdict. "I'm so happy for Tricia's little boys that today when I go home I can tell them 'guilty."'



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