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Crime & Courts

Charges detail fight that troopers say led to Parks Highway homicide

  • Author: Tegan Hanlon
  • Updated: November 21, 2017
  • Published November 20, 2017

A fight between two men in Houston earlier this month left one of them dead on an ATV trail off the Parks Highway; the other has been charged with murder, according to an Alaska state trooper.

The trooper, Sgt. Tony Wegrzyn, included those details in an affidavit filed in Palmer District Court Sunday in support of a first-degree murder charge against Justin Brunsvold in the death of Patrick McMullen. McMullen's body was found on Nov. 2.

An autopsy revealed that McMullen, who lived in Wasilla, had been shot once in the head with a shotgun. He also had a broken nose and a fresh wound on his face, the affidavit said.

According to the affidavit, investigators' conversations with those who knew McMullen led them to Brunsvold as a possible suspect.

At first, Brunsvold denied involvement in the shooting, the affidavit said. He told investigators that he had alibis, according to the affidavit.

Sgt. Wegrzyn said in the affidavit that Brunsvold asked to meet with him Friday. They met at Brunsvold's cabin in Willow and Brunsvold told the investigator that "two other drug dealers" had killed McMullen. But eventually, Brunsvold confessed, the affidavit said.

Brunsvold said he and McMullen had gone to Mile 59.4 of the Parks Highway to buy methamphetamine, according to the affidavit. The drug dealer never showed up, the affidavit said.

Brunsvold said McMullen asked to borrow his shotgun to shoot a rabbit in the woods, the affidavit said. While McMullen was armed, he accused Brunsvold of "having an affair with his estranged wife," the affidavit said.

Brunsvold said he punched McMullen in the face, the affidavit said. He said he then took the shotgun and shot McMullen in the head, according to the affidavit.

"When asked why he tried to place the blame on the two men he initially accused, Brunsvold responded that if someone was going to go to jail for murder, it might as well be two drug dealers," the affidavit said.

The affidavit said Brunsvold "exhibited signs of remorse for his actions" during his confession.

On Monday, Brunsvold was in custody at Mat-Su Pretrial and his next court date was scheduled for Nov. 29. He did not yet have an attorney listed in online court records.