For the first time in two weeks, the verbose defendant representing himself at trial in a domestic violence assault case was silent. He listened quietly as a judge recited the verdicts: guilty on 13 of 14 counts.
A Juneau jury found Laron Carlton Graham, 38, guilty of felony vehicle theft, robbery, assault and witness tampering after a two-weeklong trial. He was also found guilty of nine misdemeanors for unlawfully contacting someone against court orders, violating a domestic violence protective order and for trespassing at the Gruening Park apartment where, on March 17, he threatened to throw his then-girlfriend out of a window while she was holding her 1-year-old child.
The jury decided the state did not have enough evidence to convict him of an additional misdemeanor assault charge for allegedly slapping the victim on the face.
Graham, originally from Philadelphia and a recent Juneau transplant, acted as his own defense during the trial. The maximum possible sentence he could receive for the combined offenses is 34 years. He is scheduled to be sentenced this fall.
The jury — eight women and four men — deliberated the case for approximately seven hours on Friday. They heard testimony from the victim, several Juneau Police Department officers and witnesses from the day of the attack.
The jurors heard about the incident that March day as often, if not less, than they heard about a conspiracy Graham said police concocted to pin a homicide on him.
It was revealed in court that Graham was under 24-hour surveillance by JPD, with assistance from the FBI, in connection to a murder investigation. His then-girlfriend was helping JPD in their surveillance by recording conversations she had with Graham and informing them of his whereabouts.
But it wasn’t her involvement with JPD that prosecutors believe led to the assault. Instead, feelings of jealousy and a need to control his partner led Graham to react violently when he discovered she was having an affair, Assistant District Attorney Angie Kemp said during her closing argument Thursday.
Graham called the victim’s honesty into question, reminding jurors during his closing argument that officers testified that she lied about caring for her children the night before the attack and instead left a 10-year-old in charge of a 1-year-old while she visited a man at a downtown hotel.
Jurors asked Judge Philip Pallenberg to provide them with a transcript of a portion of the victim’s testimony about 30 minutes before they offered their verdict. Pallenberg told them transcripts were not available and, as is customary, they would instead have to listen to the victim’s entire testimony, which was almost two hours long.
After receiving that news, they declined to listen to the testimony and sent out their verdicts.
The victim was present in court Friday for the verdict announcement. She too remained fairly silent, but wore a faint smile as she walked out of the court.
Pallenberg told Graham that he might want to consider taking on counsel for the sentencing portion of his case, although he said Graham performed well as his own defense during the trial.
“I think you … were articulate and forceful, you made your points clearly to the jury,” Pallenberg told Graham. “I was impressed with your intelligence and the way that you communicated your point of view throughout the trial.”
Graham told the judge he would like counsel moving forward.
Before Graham is sentenced, attorneys first must figure out the sentencing range Graham falls into based on his prior criminal record. Kemp previously told the Empire that Graham has a non-extraditable warrant out for his arrest in Georgia where he faced felony drug and assault offenses. He also pleaded guilty in February to a misdemeanor assault charge stemming from a December incident in Juneau.
The pre-sentencing report hearing is scheduled for Oct. 7.
• Contact reporter Paula Ann Solis at 523-2272 or firstname.lastname@example.org.