Double-murder trial highlights drug trade in Alaska capital
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — An ongoing double-murder trial has shed light on the drug trade in Alaska’s capital city, a report said.
Laron Carlton Graham, 42, went on trial for two counts of first-degree murder in Juneau Superior Court last week, The Juneau Empire reported Sunday.
Graham is charged with the November 2015 shooting deaths of 36-year-old Robert Meireis and 34-year-old Elizabeth Tonsmeire. The pair was found dead in Tonsmeire’s apartment in Douglas near Juneau, authorities said.
Meireis refused to refund Graham for the sale of a bad batch of heroin and called him a racial slur, authorities have said. Graham shot Meireis in the face and then killed Tonsmeire to eliminate a witness to the crime, said prosecutor John Darnall.
There is no forensic evidence or a murder weapon linking Graham to the crimes, said defense attorney Natasha Norris.
Witnesses supported police testimony that there are numerous people involved in or somehow connected to Juneau’s drug trade.
Trial witness David Williams met Meireis in prison and had lunch with him the day of his death.
“The only reason I knew (he dealt drugs) is because he was kind of braggadocious about it,” Williams said. “He wanted you to know about it.”
Fate Wilson met with Meireis hours before the shooting.
“I was buying drugs from him,” said Wilson, who testified he purchased methamphetamine.
It is not unusual for people involved with drug users or connected to the narcotics trade to offer information after a violent crime, said Juneau police Lt. Krag Campbell.
“If someone’s in the drug scene and commit a crime, the people who know about that are probably going to be affiliated,” Campbell said.
Information from: Juneau (Alaska) Empire, http://www.juneauempire.com