Juneau Police Department Officer Ronald Shriver answers questions on the witness stand from defense attorney Natasha Norris in Juneau Superior Court on Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019, during Graham’s trial. Graham is facing 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. Shriver was a Department of Corrections officer working at Lemon Creek Correctional Center when Graham was housed there in 2016. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Juneau Police Department Officer Ronald Shriver answers questions on the witness stand from defense attorney Natasha Norris in Juneau Superior Court on Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019, during Graham’s trial. Graham is facing 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. Shriver was a Department of Corrections officer working at Lemon Creek Correctional Center when Graham was housed there in 2016. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Fingerprint expert, former corrections officer testify in double murder trial

Jury views footage of defendant and other witness passing notes

An expert from the Alaska State Crime Lab testified about fingerprints found in the apartment of one of the victims in a 2015 double murder in Douglas.

Kurt Wilcoxson, a supervisor at the crime lab, gave testimony Thursday in the trial of Laron Carlton Graham, 42, for the 2015 murder of Elizabeth Tonsmeire, 34, and Robby Meireis, 36. Wilcoxson is a specialist in latent print comparison, and analyzed a number of objects found in Tonsmeire’s apartment, including a grocery bag, a handgun magazine, some pipes and various drink bottles.

“The best surface in the world is glass,” Wilcoxson said during direct examination. “It’s nice and smooth, and takes a print real well.”

[Witnesses talk about defendant’s relationship, victims’ phones]

A number of fingerprints were identified on various surfaces, Wilcoxson said during direct examination, including prints from Tonsmeire and William Reyes, a prior witness in the trial who had been doing drugs at the apartment on the Friday evening before the murders.

“You’re only gonna get bits and pieces of fingerprints,” Wilcoxson said during direct examination. “Sometimes the bits and pieces aren’t enough to identify one.”

Officer Ronald Shriver also testified. A police officer with the Juneau Police Department, Shriver was formerly a corrections officer at Lemon Creek Correctional Center. Before that, Shriver was a Marine military policeman. Shriver detailed video footage taken from the cell of James LeBlanc-Tweedy, a key witness for the prosecution. LeBlanc-Tweedy was housed next to Graham in the maximum security section of LCCC, and the two would often pass notes.

[Former probation officer, mother of previous witness testifies]

“It’s not common when cells are next to each other,” Shriver said during direct examination.

In most cases where inmates wanted to communicate with their neighbor, they’d just talk, Shriver said. That Graham passed notes and was afraid to be heard might indicate that he was afraid microphones were recording his conversations.

“The cells do not have audio recording devices,” Shriver said. “There are some (inmates) that believe they are being recorded all the time.”

The footage showed LeBlanc-Tweedy reading notes from Graham, becoming agitated, giving the camera the middle finger, and eventually going to bed.

The prosecution has had 32 witnesses take the stand already, said defense attorney Natasha Norris, and is due to continue on Monday morning.


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


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