The sentencing for an Anchorage man guilty of murder has been postponed and moved to Homer after a communication mishap.
Demarqus Green, 23, was found guilty in May of second-degree murder and tampering with evidence in the 2012 shooting of Demian Sagerser, then 40. Green’s defense attorney had argued self defense, saying that Sagerser had attacked Green with a knife when Green visited the man’s cabin in Stariski Creek to buy marijuana.
Before the hearing could begin last Friday at the Kenai Courthouse, Superior Court Judge Anna Moran addressed confusion surrounding the change in the original venue from Homer to Kenai. Moran said she received an unopposed motion from the state to transfer the sentencing to Kenai, with the goal of resolving the case more quickly.
Sagerser’s mother, Marjorie Bantz, was present at the hearing and visibly emotional throughout, speaking up through quivering sobs to voice her opposition to the Kenai location.
“I don’t even begin to know what to say,” she said, adding that her wishes had been “completely misrepresented” to the court.
Bantz said she had always wanted the sentencing to take place in Homer where more of her son’s friends and family would be able to attend. Bantz said and she had tried to email Moran directly to voice her opinion. Moran said she never received those emails.
Kenai District Attorney Scot Leaders said he only submitted a motion to move the hearing to Kenai because, at the time, he believed Bantz wanted the earliest possible sentencing date, even if that meant moving it to Kenai.
“This is very different than the phone call I had before making that motion,” Leaders said before bringing a distressed Bantz out into the hall to speak privately about the mix-up.
Green’s new sentencing will be held at 2:15 p.m. on Dec. 28 at the Homer Courthouse. Green’s defense attorney, Adam Franklin, said he had conflicts that would prevent the sentencing from taking place in November.
“It’s just very important that we are sensitive to the community’s needs,” Moran said of the additional venue change.
Confusion over how to submit statements from Sagerser’s friends and family was also addressed. Bantz, who Leaders said did not feel able to make a verbal statement at the hearing, had submitted one in writing along with several other people who were close to her son.
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