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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Alaska jury convicts ex-Arizona lawmaker in shooting death

Mark Desimone, a former Arizona legislator charged with killing a man on an Alaska hunting and fishing trip in 2016, looks over documents during his trial in Juneau, Alaska, Thursday, May 10, 2018. (Becky Bohrer / Associated Press)
By Becky Bohrer Associated Press

JUNEAU, Alaska – An Alaska jury on Friday convicted a former Arizona lawmaker of first-degree murder in the death of a man on a hunting and fishing trip in 2016.

The jury in Juneau found Mark Desimone guilty in the death of Duilio Antonio “Tony” Rosales at a remote cabin site in southeast Alaska.

Desimone sat stone-faced as the verdict was read following jury deliberations that started Thursday. Friends and family of Rosales’ held hands, hugged and cried.

Rosales’ widow, Maria Gonzalez, left the room after the verdict was read. Her piercing wails could be heard inside the courtroom. The verdict came nearly two years to the day of the shooting.

She told reporters the trial had been painful and forced her to relive the experience of losing Rosales.

“He didn’t deserve to die like that,” she said.

A judge ordered Desimone held without bail pending sentencing. There is no death penalty in Alaska.

Desimone resigned from the Arizona House in 2008, during his first term, after being arrested in a domestic dispute with his then-wife. That case was dropped when he agreed to counseling.

Desimone had lived in Juneau in the 1980s and returned shortly before the shooting.

Assistant District Attorney Amy Paige said Desimone was doing day labor at a local jewelry store where Rosales worked. The store was owned by Bill Young, whom Desimone knew from his earlier period in Alaska.

Young invited Desimone, Rosales and other friends on the trip to Excursion Inlet, about 40 miles northwest of Juneau.

Paige noted that one member of the trip, Sam Bradshaw, said Desimone’s demeanor changed from happy to moody when he learned Rosales was going to be on the trip.

Another member of the trip, Seth Bradshaw, said he heard gunfire and initially thought someone was target shooting. He ran into Desimone, who said, “I shot him, I shot him. It’s all my fault, I shot him,” Paige told jurors.

Rosales suffered two shots to the back of his head as he was sitting down and removing his boots. The gun used in the shooting had been borrowed from Young by another member of the group.

After the shooting, Desimone was calm and smoked cigarettes, Paige said.

Desimone’s attorney, Deborah Macaulay, did not dispute that Desimone fatally shot Rosales. But she argued it was an accident and said the lack of an apparent motive was a big hole in the prosecution’s case.

She suggested Desimone’s reaction to the shooting could be described as shock.

Macaulay also suggested that Desimone would not have shot Rosales on the deck of the cabin with another member of the group nearby if Desimone had really wanted to hurt Rosales.