The trial of Laron Carlton Graham for the murder of Elizabeth Tonsmeire and Robby Meireis continued in Juneau on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

The trial of Laron Carlton Graham for the murder of Elizabeth Tonsmeire and Robby Meireis continued in Juneau on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Defense calls final witnesses before resting, suggests another suspect in killing

Inmates highlight possible other suspect

As the defense called its final witness, the trial for a 2015 double murder may have been winding up.

Natasha Norris, defense attorney for defendant Laron Carlton Graham, 42, called two witnesses Thursday in the trial of the deaths of Elizabeth Tonsmeire, 34, and Robby Meireis, 36.

Zachary Stubblefield was the first witness to take the stand. An inmate at Lemon Creek Correctional Center, Stubblefield was reluctant to respond to questions.

“I ain’t here to be labeled or get anybody in trouble,” Stubblefield said during cross-examination. “I don’t have anything to say.”

Stubblefield contacted Detective Kathy Underwood, mother of a friend of his, to tell her he had been threatened by Jose Delgado, who allegedly pulled a gun on him over another issue, some time after the murders. Underwood’s recording of the event was played before the court.

“The same s—- that happened over in Douglas is going to happen to me,” Stubblefield says on the recording of the interview.

Stubblefield was uncooperative and vulgar during testimony, blustering and muttering, eventually being censured by Judge Phillip Pallenberg for his lack of cooperation and uncouth bearing. Clamming up during cross-examination, Stubblefield adamantly maintained that his heavy heroin and meth usage during the time had rendered his memory ineffective, and was eventually released from the stand.

Defense calls final witnesses before resting, suggests another suspect in killing

Tiffany Spaulding was next to testify. At the time of the killings, Spaulding and Meireis had been in a relationship for roughly four months. The weekend of Nov. 13, Meireis told Spaulding that he was going over to the Admiralty Condos where Tonsmeire lived, whom Spaulding also knew. Spaulding confirmed Meireis’ prickly attitude.

“He didn’t really like to be around people he didn’t know,” Spaulding said during direct examination. “He was paranoid and cautious and someone could have always been out to get him.”

Meireis sold and used meth, Spaulding said during direct examination, but she never knew him to use or distribute heroin, the drug Graham was alleged to have killed Meireis over.

On Nov. 15, 2015, Spaulding heard that there was a murder over at the Admiralty Condos and decided to go there.

“I didn’t know where that was. I had to Google it,” Spaulding said. “I knew Robby was there last. He told me he was going there.”

Meireis caught a ride with Delgado and someone else who she said she couldn’t remember. She said when she arrived, the scene was already taped off, and when she asked what had happened, she received a vague and unhelpful answer from the police.

“We got there, and I saw Salisbury and few of the other officers going into the condo, so I made my own assumption,” Spaulding said.

[Case officer in 2015 double murder continues testimony]

After Spaulding was released from the stand back to LCCC, where she was incarcerated, Norris lined out some of her facts while the jury was absent, building a case for Delgado as the killer rather than her client Graham.

Norris said Delgado was the last phone call Meireis had before user activity on his phone ceased, talking briefly, Norris said. Delgado visited the crime scene twice that day, once with Spaulding and once again later, taking picture, according to Norris. JPD’s attempts to contact Delgado were either ignored or rebuffed with obscenity, Norris said.

“There is plenty to lay out reasonable doubt,” Norris said to Pallenberg.

The trial will go into the closing arguments on Monday morning at 8:30 a.m.


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


More in News

(Juneau Empire file photo)
Aurora forecast for the week of April 15

These forecasts are courtesy of the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute… Continue reading

Juneau School District administrators and board members review the updated budget for the current fiscal year during a Board of Education meeting Tuesday night at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
The Juneau School District had a $9.5M projected deficit this year. It’s now a $633,185 surplus. How is that possible?

Resignation of 34 employees since January, health insurance savings among reasons, officials say.

Rep. Sara Hannan (right) offers an overview of this year’s legislative session to date as Rep. Andi Story and Sen. Jesse Kiehl listen during a town hall by Juneau’s delegation on Thursday evening at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Multitude of education issues, budget, PFD among top areas of focus at legislative town hall

Juneau’s three Democratic lawmakers reassert support of more school funding, ensuring LGBTQ+ rights.

Rosemary Ahtuangaruak, mayor of the Inupiaq village of Nuiqsut, at the area where a road to the Willow project will be built in the North Slope of Alaska, March 23, 2023. The Interior Department said it will not permit construction of a 211-mile road through the park, which a mining company wanted for access to copper deposits. (Erin Schaff/The New York Times)
Biden shields millions of acres of Alaskan wilderness from drilling and mining

The Biden administration expanded federal protections across millions of acres of Alaskan… Continue reading

Allison Gornik plays the lead role of Alice during a rehearsal Saturday of Juneau Dance Theatre’s production of “Alice in Wonderland,” which will be staged at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé for three days starting Friday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
An ‘Alice in Wonderland’ that requires quick thinking on and off your feet

Ballet that Juneau Dance Theatre calls its most elaborate production ever opens Friday at JDHS.

Caribou cross through Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve in their 2012 spring migration. A 211-mile industrial road that the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority wants to build would pass through Gates of the Arctic and other areas used by the Western Arctic Caribou Herd, one of the largest in North America. Supporters, including many Alaska political leaders, say the road would provide important economic benefits. Opponents say it would have unacceptable effects on the caribou. (Photo by Zak Richter/National Park Service)
Alaska’s U.S. senators say pending decisions on Ambler road and NPR-A are illegal

Expected decisions by Biden administration oppose mining road, support more North Slope protections.

Rep. Sarah Vance, R-Homer, speaks on the floor of the Alaska House of Representatives on Wednesday, March 13. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska House members propose constitutional amendment to allow public money for private schools

After a court ruling that overturned a key part of Alaska’s education… Continue reading

Danielle Brubaker shops for homeschool materials at the IDEA Homeschool Curriculum Fair in Anchorage on Thursday. A court ruling struck down the part of Alaska law that allows correspondence school families to receive money for such purchases. (Claire Stremple/Alaska Beacon)
Lawmakers to wait on Alaska Supreme Court as families reel in wake of correspondence ruling

Cash allotments are ‘make or break’ for some families, others plan to limit spending.

Most Read