Prosecuting Attorney John Darnall, from the Office of Special Prosecutions, right, shows pictures of recovered bullets and their casings to Juneau Police Department Sgt. Matt DuBois during the double murder trial of Laron Carlton Graham in Juneau Superior Court on Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. Graham is charged with two counts of first-degree murder for the November 2015 shooting deaths of 36-year-old Robert H. Meireis and 34-year-old Elizabeth K. Tonsmeire. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Prosecuting Attorney John Darnall, from the Office of Special Prosecutions, right, shows pictures of recovered bullets and their casings to Juneau Police Department Sgt. Matt DuBois during the double murder trial of Laron Carlton Graham in Juneau Superior Court on Monday, Sept. 30, 2019. Graham is charged with two counts of first-degree murder for the November 2015 shooting deaths of 36-year-old Robert H. Meireis and 34-year-old Elizabeth K. Tonsmeire. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Case officer in 2015 double murder continues testimony

This is his third day on the stand

The trial for a double murder in Douglas continued Wednesday as a key policeofficer entered his third day on the stand, going through the cross-examination by the defense.

Sgt. Matthew DuBois of the Juneau Police Department is the case officer for the November 2015 double murder of Elizabeth Tonsmeire, 34, and Robby Meireis, 36. A detective before his promotion to sergeant, DuBois oversaw the investigation into the killings.

“It’s a very large case with lots of officers involved,” DuBois said during cross-examination from defense attorney Natasha Norris. “There was a lot of things assigned to lots of different officers.”

Laron Carlton Graham, 42, is standing trial in Juneau Superior Court on two counts of first-degree murder. The trial is in its fourth week.

DuBois oversaw the investigation of Tonsmeire’s apartment, where the bodies were discovered on Nov. 15, 2015. He took many of the photos of the scene and helped with searching the premises. Most of the evidence was seized on Nov. 15 and taken to the JPD station to be documented.

Judge Phillip Pallenberg speaks to the lawyers in Juneau Superior Court on Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019, during the trial of Laron Carlton Graham on two counts of first-degree murder for the Nov. 14, 2015 shooting deaths of 36-year-old Robert H. Meireis and 34-year-old Elizabeth K. Tonsmeire. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Judge Phillip Pallenberg speaks to the lawyers in Juneau Superior Court on Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019, during the trial of Laron Carlton Graham on two counts of first-degree murder for the Nov. 14, 2015 shooting deaths of 36-year-old Robert H. Meireis and 34-year-old Elizabeth K. Tonsmeire. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

“Somewhere after we left on the 15th, we got information that the bullet had exited Mr. Meireis’ head,” DuBois said during cross-examination. “We applied for an additional search warrant and went back to find the bullet.”

They found the bullet lodged in the arm of the couch behind where Meireis would have been standing when he was shot and killed, DuBois said.

“Could someone have returned to the scene on the 16th?” asked Norris.

“If they had a key,” DuBois said.

Clothing and shoes from the house were seized from the scene and sent for testing for DNA and shoe tread pattern, DuBois said.

[Police sergeant testifies on crime scene photos, drug use in double murder trial]

They also went over the victims’ phone records, including a 1:34 p.m. call from Graham to Tonsmeire, which is after the theoretical time of death for the victims lined out by the prosecution.

“You don’t know why that phone call was made, though, do you?” asked prosecuting attorney John Darnall during the redirect.

DuBois also talked about efforts to recover the confession note Graham allegedly passed to James LeBlanc-Tweedy while incarcerated in Lemon Creek Correctional Center. After interviewing LeBlanc-Tweedy, DuBois and Officer Jason Van Sickle went to LCCC’s dumpster, where DuBois assisted Van Sickle in climbing into the dumpster.

Van Sickle found a trash bag containing garbage from LeBlanc-Tweedy and Graham’s cells, but after reconstituting the notes they found in the bag at the JPD station with help from other officers, they did not find the alleged confession note, DuBois said during cross-examination.

“We watched footage of Graham concealing a note with a box lid and walking over to the toilet,” DuBois said.

If Graham had torn up the note and thrown it in the toilet, DuBois testified during cross-examination, there was virtually zero chance that anything useful would be recovered.

The trial continues Thursday, entering its 20th day.


• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 523-2271 or mlockett@juneauempire.com.


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