Man indicted 10 years after Fairbanks murder

Posted: Sunday, December 25, 2005

FAIRBANKS, Alaska - A 10-year-old mystery in a brutal Fairbanks killing may finally be solved.

A grand jury Thursday indicted a 37-year-old Marvin L. Wright in the execution-style slaying of a 19-year-old convenience store clerk.

Tricia Warren, 19, a mother of two trying to make extra money working an overnight shift, was shot to death Sept. 5, 1995.

The grand jury indicted Wright on charges of first- and second-degree murder, robbery and tampering with evidence.

Wright is being held Outside on unrelated charges and will be extradited to Alaska, District Attorney Jeff O'Bryant said.

Authorities declined to release much information about Wright and the evidence against him with the criminal case pending.

"We won't consider this case solved until Mr. Wright is convicted," Fairbanks Police Chief Dan Hoffman said at a news conference Thursday.

Relatives of Warren said they were stunned and pleased that police had identified a suspect. For years, the case stumped detectives and the family struggled not to give up hope.

"We're celebrating tonight," said Carol Rhoade-Gratias, Warren's stepmother.

Rhoade-Gratias, who lives in Anchorage, helped raise Warren from the age of 3.

"It's been a wonderful Christmas present," Rhoade-Gratias said.

The slaying took place 10 days after Warren took a job at the South Cushman Street Tesoro station to help pay bills. The gas station and convenience store is in an industrial area with little foot traffic nearby.

Warren worked the 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. shift because it added an extra 50 cents an hour to her wage of $6.50.

Her husband, Russell, was enlisted in the Army. The couple had two boys, Austin and Dalton, now 12 and 11. The boys now live with their father and stepmother in Carlsbad, N.M.

Warren was working alone the night of her death.

She was speaking on the telephone with a friend at about 4 a.m. but abruptly ended the conversation. The friend told police a customer had apparently walked into the convenience store.

An Alaska State Trooper who stopped in to buy a newspaper found Warren's body at 4:09 a.m. Warren had been shot in the head.

The convenience store had no security cameras.

Police credited the dogged efforts of a young detective with gathering enough evidence over the last year to make a case against Wright.

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