Mark Anthony De Simone, 53 at the time, arrives in Juneau District Court for his arraignment in this May 2016 file photo. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Mark Anthony De Simone, 53 at the time, arrives in Juneau District Court for his arraignment in this May 2016 file photo. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Murder trial pushed back

A trial two years in the works was supposed to start Monday, but a last-minute change will push it back at least a day or two.

Mark De Simone, a former Arizona legislator, was scheduled to go on trial starting Monday for the 2016 shooting death of Juneau man Duilio Antonio “Tony” Rosales. As prosecutors conducted final interviews with witnesses last week, Assistant District Attorney Amy Paige explained in court Monday, one witness brought up a previous interview he had done with law enforcement.

That interview, Paige said, wasn’t included in the prosecution’s case. The contents of the interview, which were not revealed in court Monday, could potentially change the way both sides handle their cases, Paige said.

“I wish this hadn’t happened, but we are where we are now,” Paige said. “Needless to say, it’s critical information, from the state’s perspective, that we will be certainly intending to rely upon.”

The initial interview was not recorded, Paige said, and the trooper who supposedly conducted the interview said he didn’t recall the details of it. The witness, Paige said, said the contents of the interview were important.

This newfound piece of information, Paige said, resulted in the prosecution conducting more interviews. Defense attorney Deborah Macaulay, representing De Simone, said in court she has not been able to listen to the new interviews yet.

Macaulay pointed out that almost every aspect of the investigation was recorded and said she was surprised that something that was apparently this vital to the case would not have been recorded.

“The idea that this interview took place two years ago, was never audio recorded, was never put into a report and was never produced is vastly unfair to the defense,” Macaulay said.

Jury selection did not start Monday, and might not start Tuesday as well. The two attorneys and Judge Philip Pallenberg agreed to have hearings Monday afternoon and midday Tuesday to further discuss the logistics of how to proceed. Paige said it’s especially difficult because many of the witnesses are flying into town from out of state.

Pallenberg said he has another trial in mid-May. With De Simone’s trial expected to last three weeks, Pallenberg said he hopes this trial get started soon.

“If it turns out this is a major issue that’s going to take more time than that,” Pallenberg said, pausing. “Well, we’ll figure that out.”

Alaska State Troopers found Rosales, 34, deceased with two gunshots in the back of his head on May 15, 2016, according to the original indictment. Rosales and De Simone were members of a hunting party near Excursion Inlet, charging documents allege, and one witness reported to troopers that De Simone confessed to the crime at the scene. Four days later, De Simone was indicted on charges of murder, manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide.

De Simone served as a state legislator in Arizona after living in Juneau from 1981 to 1988. According to reports at the time, De Simone was back in Juneau for a short time before the hunting trip in 2016.

• Contact reporter Alex McCarthy at 523-2271 or Follow him on Twitter at @akmccarthy.