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Widow testifies at trial of man accused of shooting Hoonah policemen

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Posted: Thursday, October 25, 2012 2:43 pm | Updated: 11:52 am, Mon Jan 21, 2013.

JUNEAU, Alaska - The widow of a Hoonah police officer testified Thursday that she had warned her husband that "John Marvin is going crazy," shortly before shots rang out, killing him and a fellow officer in August 2010.

Haley Tokuoka was the first witness called in the trial of John Marvin Jr. Marvin, 47, faces first-degree murder and weapons charges in the deaths of Hoonah Police Department Sgt. Anthony Wallace, 32, and Officer Matthew Tokuoka, 39. The two were gunned down in front of Marvin's home in the village on Aug. 28, 2010.

Marvin's attorney, Eric Hedland, told jurors in opening arguments that the state "inferred" Marvin was the shooter, but no witnesses saw him pull the trigger and he said he didn't think Marvin's hands had been checked for gun residue. Hedland also said it was "no secret" to anyone in the room, observing, that Marvin "suffers from a serious mental disability."

District Attorney David Brower said bullets used or found matched a rifle that was found in Marvin's home on an island about 40 miles west of Juneau. He said he would ask the jury when the trial was finished to find that Marvin intentionally killed the officers. "He did it with a rifle from his house, while they were standing there," with their families nearby, he said.

Jurors were attentive during the emotionally charged day, which began with Brower playing fragments of radio traffic from Aug. 28, 2010, including the frantic shrieks of Wallace's mother, Debbie Greene, who had been on a ride-along with him. She sobbed softly in the front row of the gallery.

Haley Tokuoka, in a halting voice, testified that the day leading up to the tragic events was "beautiful, probably the best day of our life together as a family." It included a full day of fishing and a crab feast that night at her parents' house. She said she, her husband and two children left around 10:10 p.m. that night, because Matthew Tokuoka had to work at 11 p.m.

On the way, they pulled up to a large trash container near a liquor store by Marvin's home to get rid of scraps from dinner; she said there was concern about the scraps attracting bears, and they didn't want bears coming to her parents'. When her husband went to dump the trash, she said she saw Marvin through the window of his home, which she estimated at 50-60 yards away, slamming a dark object, what she said looked like a military ammunition container. She said she told her husband "it looks like John Marvin is going crazy."

He told her he wanted to finish dumping the trash and advised her not to look over at Marvin's, or draw attention to them. Wallace then pulled up behind the couple's vehicle, playfully flashing his lights and sounding the siren on his police car. His mother was in from out-of-town, on a ride-along.

She said she shared her concerns with Wallace, who pulled out a flashlight and shone it toward Marvin's house, drawing a strong rebuke from her husband. Wallace then went to the couple's vehicle to talk to their kids, with whom she said he had a close bond, while the Tokuoka's spoke with Wallace's mother. The next thing she knew, Wallace was yelling out, "I'm shot, I'm shot."

"He just crumpled to the ground," she said.

Her husband ran to him while she ran to the car, wanting to get her kids out of there. She reached her parents' house, and called 911. It was then that she heard the police radio in the background saying a second officer had been shot.

On cross-examination, Tokuoka acknowledged that she never saw Marvin with a gun.

She said Thursday was also the first time she heard details about a run-in the officers had with Marvin in 2009, during which Marvin was stunned and, Hedland said, beaten up.

She said she knew something had happened, because her husband came home with blood on him, scratches and a hurt hand but she said he was secretive about his job. The couple kept a loaded gun in their house after that, because she said she was scared.

Brower said Marvin didn't like the officers because of this incident. Hedland said Wallace apparently had some standing concern about Marvin, and the two had a series of run-ins. He said he expected the jury would hear that those were generally instigated by Wallace. At this time, he said people in the community recognized that Marvin was having "serious mental problems."

Marvin, during the proceedings, sometimes looked through papers or whispered to Hedland and at times he looked up during arguments or testimony.

The trial is expected to run at least into next week.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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