73-year-old accused of murder claims self-defense, lawyer says

mtheriault@adn.comOctober 22, 2013 

The attorney for a 73-year-old man accused of shooting to death a California man at a Fairview apartment early Sunday says the case is about self-defense.

Johnie Jones appeared in court Monday on charges of second-degree murder, manslaughter and tampering with evidence. Police say the shooting was drug-related.

Witnesses saw Sean Mulgrew, 36, run out of an apartment building on Ingra Street at around 3:30 a.m. on Sunday.

Police found him soon after in an alley just feet from Juneau Street, bleeding from gunshot wounds. He died at the scene.

Charging documents filed with the court revealed new details about the killing.

Jones' version of what happened Sunday night, according to prosecutors, was that he answered a knock at the door and found a stranger pointing a flare gun at him.

The two fought, Jones told police. He said he didn't notice the man was bleeding until he ran away.

He denied shooting Mulgrew or being involved with drugs.

Neighbors of the fourplex where Jones lived said 915 Ingra St. had become a hub for drug dealing in recent years. Syringes and plastic baggies littered the grounds and a constant stream of visitors stopped by at all hours, usually for just a few minutes, neighbor James Huguley said.

After obtaining a warrant Sunday afternoon, detectives searched the apartment building and found a bucket in a common laundry room that contained two semiautomatic pistols, two bindles of heroin and an "off-white crystalline substance" suspected to be cocaine, according to charging documents.

They also found a set of digital scales.

Inside Jones' apartment, police found shell casings in the kitchen trash and a gun case matching a .45 semiautomatic pistol found in the laundry room, according to the charging papers.

Jones said nothing during the brief proceedings Monday, held at the Anchorage Jail

His attorney, Rex Butler, spoke for him, saying he would plead not guilty.

Butler said the case is about a senior citizen defending himself against a home invasion.

"This guy is 73 years old," he said outside the Anchorage Jail Monday. "He's attacked in his own home by this person."

Jones' criminal record in Alaska stretches back to 1984.

It includes DUIs, a misdemeanor drug charge and a misdemeanor assault in 2012.

The man found dead in the alley, Sean Mulgrew, has no criminal record in Alaska visible on the state's database of court records.

Mulgrew was from Carson, Calif., according to his Facebook profile.

Police haven't detailed what they think led to Mulgrew and Jones' encounter at the apartment Sunday morning.

It's also not known how long Mulgrew had been in Alaska. But his Facebook profile tells the story of a man looking for a fresh start.

He wrote that he had come to Alaska from California for "a new life."

He also wanted to work.

"No good jobs in Cali for ex-felons," he posted.

He listed a job at a furniture warehouse in Anchorage.

Most of his posts were about his daughter.

Mulgrew wrote about counting the days until a visit and posted pictures of father and daughter out for hamburgers.

He thanked an "auntie" for taking care of the girl.

"Priceless," he wrote. "Thank u sis for the love that u give my daughter while I'm away."


Reach Michelle Theriault Boots at mtheriault@adn.com or 257-4344.


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