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Trial of Hoonah man accused of murdering policemen wrapping up

Alaska Dispatch

Closing arguments in the trial of John Marvin Jr. are expected Thursday in Juneau. Earlier in the week, jurors saw forensic evidence and received a fuller picture of the man accused of killing two Hoonah police officers in an ambush-style attack. 

In August 2010, Marvin was arrested on murder charges for allegedly shooting two Hoonah police officers, Matt Tokuoka and Tony Wallace, from his home as they walked down the street. Hoonah is a Tlingit community of about 750 people, located 40 air miles west of Juneau in Southeast Alaska.

Earlier this week, the jury heard forensic evidence collected by authorities who investigated the crime, the Juneau Empire reported. Robert J. Shem, a firearms examiner for the state of Alaska crime lab, told the jury that one bullet and cartridge he examined was fired from the “same gun” that prosecutors say Marvin used in the shootings, a 7mm Browning automatic rifle.

The proceedings also revealed several missteps in the investigation, such as allowing a candlelight vigil to be conducted at the crime scene while investigators were still working.  Some 100 people showed up the crime scene when foot traffic should not have been permitted.

On Wednesday, a fuller picture of Marvin emerged. Prosecutors portrayed him as a man known for computer expertise and chopping firewood for neighbors who had become withdrawn and anti-social for at least six months before the shooting, the Juneau Empire reported.

Marvin is facing a life sentence if convicted of two counts of first-degree murder as well as weapons misconduct. Closing arguments are expected to wrap up on Thursday.

Read more about the ongoing trial, here.