After using up the April juror pool and dipping into May jurors, a jury was finally seated last week in the Demarqus Green murder trial. The testimony phase of the trial began last Wednesday at the Homer Courthouse with Kenai Superior Court Judge Anna Moran presiding. The trial is expected to continue this week.
Green, 23, of Anchorage faces charges of first-degree murder and second-degree murder in the death of Demian Sagerser, then 40. He also has been charged with tampering with physical evidence and first-degree armed robbery.
Green is charged with robbing and killing Sagerser at Sagerser’s Stariski Creek home. A friend of Sagerser, Cimmaron Tangman, found Sagerser dead on the night of July 7, 2012.
Alaska Bureau of Investigations investigators later determined Sagerser had been shot with a 9 mm gun.
Tangman told investigators he knew Sagerser had feared being robbed and had a game camera in the trees outside his home. Tangman took the game camera and later turned it in to Alaska State Troopers when he reported the death.
According to charging documents, investigators alleged that the game camera showed a man in a red shirt or jacket similar in appearance to Green. Green denied shooting Sagerser.
Last Friday, Kenai District Attorney Scot Leaders showed jurors that image, of a man in a red shirt or jacket on a walkway next to a red Chevrolet Impala. Leaders also presented two witnesses who had been camping with Green at the Centennial Park Campground in Kenai, Guy Robinson, a friend, and Jim Stevenson, Green’s older cousin.
Stevenson said he had known Green, who he called “D,” since childhood, but had gotten reacquainted with him in Anchorage. Stevenson, Robinson and their families had gone to Soldotna to camp and fish. Originally, Green was going to come down with him, Stevenson said, but came later with his girlfriend, Nancie Modeste. Green drove a red Impala, Stevenson testified.
Green had been having some troubles in Anchorage, Stevenson said, and they wanted to get out of the city.
“Let me show you the peaceful side of Alaska,” Stevenson said he told Green.
The group sat around in the campground talking and smoking pot, Stevenson said in testimony. At one point somehow voice mail on Green’s cellphone went off, which upset Green, who thought the phone was tapped. Angry, he smashed his phone. He later borrowed Stevenson’s phone.
On July 7, 2012, the day Sagerser was killed, Stevenson said he and Robinson went to Wal-Mart in Kenai to get food, fishing supplies and licenses. They ran into Green and Modeste there. At Wal-Mart they met a short guy who asked them if they wanted to buy marijuana. Green put the short guy’s number in Stevenson’s cell phone.
According to charging documents, Alaska Bureau of Investigation detectives said they traced Stevenson’s cell phone from Soldotna to near Sagerser’s home as the phone went by cell towers. Sagerser also made phone calls to Stevenson’s phone, investigators said.
Leaders asked Stevenson if the short guy said anything offensive to them.
“Make sure you bring her with some clean underpants,” Stevenson said he remembered the short guy saying.
Stevenson and Robinson went fishing, and Green went to Anchor Point to buy some marijuana. The men later that night met up at the campground. Leaders asked Stevenson if he noticed anything odd about Green.
“I felt there was something wrong,” Stevenson said, but added that he didn’t press Green. “I didn’t want to know,” Stevenson said.
Stevenson said Green said something like “The dude was real disrespectful.”
In his testimony, Robinson testified that Green said he “had to check him,” referring to the short man they had met at Wal-Mart in Kenai.
The group later returned to Anchorage. A couple of days after they got back, Stevenson said a neighbor said she wanted to tell Stevenson about something he, Robinson and Green had been involved in that she heard from Modeste. Judge Moran admonished the jury that this would be hearsay. When Stevenson heard on the television news about the Sagerser shooting, he said he thought there must be something to what the neighbor said.
Leaders asked Stevenson about statements he had made to investigators, and had him read silently the statements.
In that statement, Stevenson testified that he had asked Green what the neighbor was talking about. Green said “You know that dude was disrespectful,” but Stevenson cut him off, saying, “I don’t what to hear anything else about that.”
Leaders also asked Stevenson if he knew Green had a firearm. Stevenson said he did, similar to a pistol Stevenson had that got confiscated. Green carried it all the time, Stevenson said.
Leaders also asked if Green wore a red jacket, and Stevenson said he did. That was when Leaders showed the game camera image.
In cross examination of Stevenson, Green’s lawyer, Adam Franklin, asked him if he thought Modeste had a bad effect on Green. Stevenson said he had told Green he didn’t want Modeste to go camping with them.
Franklin asked Stevenson if when Green came back from Anchor Point he had more marijuana. Stevenson said he didn’t know.
All he saw was Green rolling a joint in his lap.
In charging documents, investigators said Tangman, Sagerser’s friend who found his body, told them earlier on July 7 he saw six pint-size Mason jars of marijuana, but that when he found Sagerser’s body, the jars were missing.
Franklin asked Stevenson again about the bad feeling he had about Green when he came back from Anchor Point and if he asked Green what went on.
“I told you five, six times. D. wasn’t asked a question about what went on,” Stevenson said.
Franklin also asked Stevenson if he knew if Green carried a weapon. Stevenson said Green was carrying a gun before the trip to go camping, and that he was armed because of some incident that happened earlier at the Sears Mall in Anchorage.
Michael Armstrong can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.