Lorissa Evenson, a former girlfriend of Laron Carlton Graham, 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. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Lorissa Evenson, a former girlfriend of Laron Carlton Graham, 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. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Witnesses talk about defendant’s relationship, victims’ phones

Trial enters 13th day Wednesday

A woman who had been in a relationship with the defendant standing trial for a 2015 double murder testified Wednesday.

Lorissa Evenson was no longer seeing Laron Carlton Graham, 42, on Nov. 14, 2015, the date that Elizabeth Tonsmeire, 34, and Robby Meireis, 36, died. Evenson had moved to Washington to go to school. But he did call her the night before, possibly under the influence of drugs, Evenson said.

“I started to believe he was (under the influence) when I received the call on Friday the (evening of the) 13th,” Evenson said during direct examination from prosecuting attorney John Darnall. “He was claiming he was seeing ghosts in the bushes on the walk home.”

Evenson said she ended the call pretty quickly after that, not wanting to talk to him while he was under the influence, and acting agitated and paranoid. She testified during cross-examination that Graham seemed concerned about snipers, possibly from the FBI. The behavior made her think Graham was using meth, Evenson said.

[Former probation officer, mother of previous witness testifies]

Evenson said she and Graham had been getting together in the weeks before she moved out of state. He would come over to her apartment in Lemon Creek, Evenson said.

“I believe he was living with other people until the last few weeks I was living in town when I started letting him come over sometimes,” Evenson said during cross-examination from defense attorney Natasha Norris.

They were still in touch while she was living in Washington, Evenson said, communicating through Facebook messages or phone calls.

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Juneau Police Department Sgt. Shaun Phelps also testified Wednesday. Formerly a detective specializing in hardware and software exploitation, particularly phones, tablets, and laptops, Phelps examined numerous phones and tablets recovered from Tonsmeire’s apartment, including Meireis’ phone. Phelps used a program called Cellebrite, which is frequently used by law enforcement organizations to break into phones they’ve seized and read the contents.

“I responded to the scene with all the other detectives,” Phelps said during direct examination. “I retrieved some phones and iPads that were found at the scene and took them back to the station to process.”

While examining Meireis’ phone, Phelps found that the last phone call he answered was at 1:10 p.m. on Nov. 14, 2015. The last text message he read was at 1:07 p.m. After that, all user activity on the phone ceased. Darnall argued in his opening statements that this likely when Meireis and Tonsmeire were shot and killed.

The trial will continue into its 14th day in Juneau Superior Court Thursday.


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


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