Court records: Suspect in Alaska police slayings had run-in last year with same 2 officers

By Rachel Doro, AP
Monday, August 30, 2010

Records: Suspect had run-in with slain AK officers

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A man charged in the slayings of two police officers in a tiny Alaska village was accused of attacking the same officers last year after they responded to a call about an intruder, court records revealed.

But assault and other charges filed against John Marvin Jr. in last year’s alleged attack on Hoonah officers Tony Wallace and Matt Tokuoka were dismissed in December.

Now Marvin, 45, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder on allegations he ambushed the two officers late Saturday, shooting them as they chatted in front of his home. Marvin surrendered Monday morning after a standoff with authorities.

Wallace’s mother, visiting from Florida, was on a patrol ride-along with her son and witnessed the shootings, said Jamie Brothers, an ex-girlfriend of the 32-year-old sergeant who remained close friends with him.

Debbie Greene of St. Petersburg, Fla., called for help from Wallace’s patrol car and continually relives the attack, Brothers said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press from Rochester, N.Y.

“She’s doing awful. She says she’s just numb,” Brothers said. “She dozes off because she can’t sleep, and when she wakes up she prays it was just dream. Every time she closes her eyes, she sees the bullets and hears the gunshots.”

The prosecutor assigned to the 2009 case declined Monday to say why the charges were dropped.

“Our office is reeling, and I’m not prepared to talk about it,” said Amy Williams, an assistant district attorney. She added she doesn’t want to risk jeopardizing the new case against Marvin.

Court documents allege both officers were injured in the August 2009 attack after they responded to a call from a woman who said Marvin entered her home without permission.

The officers found Marvin at his home, court records said. He initially slammed the door, then charged at them from a dark alley and was “extremely combative,” according to the documents. The attack ended after the officers fired stun guns at Marvin, and Wallace, a college wrestler, contained him in a “thigh lock,” court records said.

The documents also note Marvin’s “mental health issues.”

Authorities haven’t disclosed a motive for the fatal shootings.

Tokuoka and his family had just left the home of Tokuoka’s father-in-law, George Martin, when the shootings occurred, Martin said.

Brothers said the off-duty Tokuoka and his family were driving home when they encountered Wallace and his mother. The officers each parked their cars, and Wallace got out to greet the Tokuokas.

Wallace was leaning into a car window, talking to Tokuoka’s children, when two shots were fired from Marvin’s home, striking the officer in the leg and back, Brothers said. She said Wallace was wearing a bulletproof vest, but it had a safety plate only in the front.

Tokuoka, 39, jumped out of his vehicle and yelled for his wife and kids to leave, Brothers said. Then he was shot twice in the chest, she said.

Authorities allege Marvin shot both officers, then barricaded himself in his home in Hoonah, a Native village on an island about 40 miles west of Juneau. Wallace died during surgery in Juneau, while Tokuoka died at a Hoonah clinic.

A standoff ensued at Marvin’s home, with Alaska State Troopers and other law enforcement agencies maintaining their positions through Monday morning.

Martin said officers wearing masks were seen firing canisters — likely tear gas — into Marvin’s home before arresting him. Troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters said she couldn’t comment on tactics used.

It was unclear Monday evening if Marvin had an attorney. Peters didn’t know, and a state court records website didn’t list the case.

Wallace was born in Germany because his father was a military police officer, but he grew up in Franklin, Ohio, Brothers said. He was one of the few hard-of-hearing officers in the nation, according to officials at Rochester Institute of Technology in upstate New York, where he attended the National Technical Institute for the Deaf.

He also was a college wrestler and was inducted into the institute’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2008.

Wallace joined the Hoonah police force in 2006, left after seven months and then rejoined in 2008. He served as the small department’s evidence officer, and was recently designated as a breath-test maintenance technician.

According to the law enforcement networking website, Tokuoka was a former Marine Corps staff sergeant who served in special operations. The Hawaii native had been with the department since spring 2009.

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