Trial set to begin for ex-Arizona lawmaker in Alaska killing

Mark Desimone, Deborah Macaulay
The Associated Press

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A trial is set to begin this week for a former Arizona state lawmaker accused of killing a man on a hunting and fishing trip in Alaska.

Prosecutors say Mark Desimone shot and killed Duilio Antonio “Tony” Rosales in May 2016 outside of Juneau after a day that included drinking. Authorities have not disclosed an alleged motive.

Jury selection is expected to start Monday.

Rosales appeared to have been shot twice in the back of the head as he sat on a picnic bench removing his boots at Excursion Inlet, about 40 miles (64 kilometers) northwest of Juneau, according to court documents filed by prosecutors.

A man who was nearby when the shooting occurred, Seth Bradshaw, told an Alaska State Trooper he heard the shots, which he initially thought came from someone target shooting, and ran into Desimone when he walked to the front of the cabin. Desimone told him, “I shot Tony. I shot him. It’s my fault,” according to the charging documents.

Desimone faces charges of murder, manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide. Assistant District Attorney Amy Paige said prosecutors are giving options so jurors can decide which charge, if any, is appropriate.

Desimone, 55, lived in Juneau in the 1980s, and had a brief political career in Arizona, winning a state House seat as a Democrat in a GOP-leaning district in 2006. He resigned before his first term ended after being arrested in a domestic dispute with his then-wife. That case was dropped when he agreed to counseling.

The bar he owned eventually closed, and his 2008 divorce case showed he had long struggled with alcohol abuse.

He returned to Alaska shortly before the shooting. He worked as a day laborer and couch-surfed at the home of the owner of a jewelry store. Rosales worked at the store.

At a pretrial hearing on Thursday, the issue of whether to allow evidence of alcohol on the trip was discussed. Desimone’s attorney, Deborah Macaulay, said every witness who was asked whether Desimone was intoxicated said “no, absolutely not, totally not drunk, might have had one or two drinks throughout the day.”

Superior Court Judge Philip Pallenberg said that information would be allowed. He also said the victim’s widow could testify that she spoke with him hours before he was killed and nothing seemed amiss. But he warned prosecutors not to call a witness solely to generate sympathy from jurors.

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