Laron Carlton Graham listens to his attorney, Natasha Norris, in Juneau Superior Court on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019, during his trial on two counts of first-degree murder for the Nov. 15, 2015 shooting deaths of 36-year-old Robert H. Meireis and 34-year-old Elizabeth K. Tonsmeire. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Laron Carlton Graham listens to his attorney, Natasha Norris, in Juneau Superior Court on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019, during his trial on two counts of first-degree murder for the Nov. 15, 2015 shooting deaths of 36-year-old Robert H. Meireis and 34-year-old Elizabeth K. Tonsmeire. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

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

Police sergeant testifies on evidence from scene

This is the third day of the trial of Laron Carlton Graham. Read about Day 1 and Day 2 here.

Editor’s Note: Graphic details of the killings could be offensive or disturbing to some readers.

A police detective who responded to an emergency call for a double murder in Douglas in November 2015 testified Thursday, showing the jury graphic images of the crime scene.

Sgt. Sterling Salisbury gave explanations for a series of police photos, starting from the parking lot of the Admiralty Condos and working inward, past a porch littered with soda cans and granola bar wrappers, and into a cluttered and poorly lit apartment where Elizabeth K. Tonsmeire, 34, and Robert H. Meireis, 36, were found dead.

“That dark stain there, that would be blood,” Salisbury said, pointing to a photo. Jurors saw a photograph of Meireis’ body, but not of Tonsmeire.

He testified that two 10mm casings were recovered from the scene, as well as two 10mm rounds, which were sent to a crime lab for testing.

In this file photo from November 2015, Juneau Police Department officers are shown entering a first floor unit at the Admiralty Condos in the 2700 block of Rogers Street in Douglas. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

In this file photo from November 2015, Juneau Police Department officers are shown entering a first floor unit at the Admiralty Condos in the 2700 block of Rogers Street in Douglas. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)

The testimony came on the third day of the jury trial of Laron Carlton Graham, 42, who is facing two counts of first-degree murder for the slayings. Tonsmeire and Meireis were fatally shot in the head.

Other photos showed Meireis’ — whom other witnesses have identified as a drug dealer — wallet, which contained the driver’s license used to identify him, and more than $200.

“It was a large sum of money,” Salisbury said, specifying he didn’t know the total sum.

[Victim’s father in double murder gives haunting testimony]

Other photos of Meireis revealed plastic bags colloquially known as “dime bags” containing methamphetamine, according to Salisbury. Also visible were tattoos across Meireis’ abdomen reading “Skinhead” with a large swastika. The dime bags had “777” on them, which could be a reference to Meireis’ phone number, which ended in the same digits, he said.

Sections of Meireis’ pants and shirt he was wearing at the time of his death were sent to the crime lab for DNA testing as well, Salisbury testified.

Detectives also found pipes for smoking both methamphetamine and marijuana, Salisbury testified. There was also a photo of hypodermic needles in a slow cooker.

The trial will continue next week, on Tuesday at 8:30 a.m.


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


More in News

Courtesy National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 
The Arctic ringed seal is listed as a “threatened” subspecies of ringed seal under the Endangered Species Act.
Feds reject petition to delist Arctic ringed seals as threatened

Since 2013, three subspecies of ringed seal — the Arctic, Okhotsk and Baltic — have been listed as threatened.

Travelers arrive at the Juneau International Airport on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020, made up only about half of what the airport normally sees in the days leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Centennial Hall, seen here on Tuesday, Nov. 24, is being used by the City and Borough of Juneau as an emergency facility during the coronavirus pandemic and will not host the annual Public Market which has taken place every weekend after Thanksgiving since 1983. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Want to buy Alaskan? Closed by pandemic, Public Market goes virtual

Normally throngs of Juneauites would be lined up around the block…

To capture the unexpected action- the unrepeatable moment- it should be instinctive.  In order to build the story you have to shoot the adjective.  In this photo the bald eagle had waited patiently for the right moment to pounce on an unsuspecting vole… the unexpected.  The best way to accomplish this is to master the art of the most difficult subject to photograph– birds in flight.  In order to do this you must learn your gear; it must become part of your muscle memory so you can concentrate on the story you are witnessing.  Canon 5D Mark III, Tamron 150-600mm, shot at 600mm, ISO AUTO (1250), F6.3, 1/3200, Handheld. (Courtesy Photo / Heather Holt)
Focal Point: Great photos are just waiting in the wings

Learn to shoot the verb (and the bird).

Has it always been a police car. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire)
Police calls for Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Meals slated for children in Juneau over Thanksgiving weekend are arrayed on tables at Thunder Mountain High School on Nov. 25, 2020. (Courtesy photo / Luke Adams)
Font of plenty: JSD readies meals for Thanksgiving holiday

Nearly three tons of food got distributed for the long weekend.

Construction of the new Glory Hall, above, is going smoothly, said executive director Mariya Lovishchuk on Nov. 24, 2020. (Courtesy photo / Thor Lindstam)
Building a brighter future: New Glory Hall reaches skyward

The structure is rapidly progressing, shouldering aside inclement weather.

Most Read