The murder trial for a man charged with a deadly shooting at Alaska's largest mall is scheduled to begin this week, nearly four and a half years after the crime.
Jury selection began on Monday for the trial of Terence Gray, charged with shooting and killing Edwing Matos at South Anchorage's Dimond Center mall in February 2010. According to prosecutor Robert Henderson, the trial has been delayed several times for a host of reasons, including witness availability and new public defenders assigned the case.
Matos' cousin, Dennis Johnson, says it's been a difficult four years of waiting for the family.
"It's a very anxious time and hopefully we're three weeks from closure," Johnson said. "Edwing's birthday was last week so it comes at a tough time. It comes at a horribly tough time."
Johnson, who is also a witness in the trial, says he was there the night that his cousin was killed. According to him, neither of them knew Gray, whom they met at the mall to discuss getting back items Gray had that were stolen from Matos.
The encounter quickly turned deadly. Gray allegedly shot Matos outside of a barber shop in the mall, and also attempted to shoot Johnson. He's facing a first-degree murder charge for Matos' death, plus one count each of of attempted murder in the first degree and assault in the third degree.
Johnson says his family is looking forward to the trial, regardless of its outcome.
"To have the closure, to have the verdict, whatever the verdict may be, whatever the jury finds it to be," Johnson said. "And I think most of all, what God feels justice needs to be, and directs them the way it needs to go."