By Michelle Graff
Juneau, Alaska--Duilio Rosales, the bench jeweler at Juneau retailer The Jewel Box, was shot and killed Sunday while on a hunting trip, allegedly by a man, and former lawmaker, who barely knew him. 

The murder has left the victim’s family and friends asking why, and the community, many of whom wear wedding rings crafted by “Tony,” trying to help.

According to a dispatch posted Monday by Alaska State Troopers, at approximately 7:38 p.m. Sunday, the U.S. Coast Guard relayed to Juneau-based officers a report of a deceased male at a cabin in Excursion Inlet, located about 35 miles west of the Alaskan capital.

Both state and Alaskan Wildlife Troopers responded to the call, with investigators from the FBI’s Alaska Bureau also brought in to assist.

When law enforcement officials arrived, they found that 34-year-old Rosales of Juneau, who was on a hunting trip with a group of men, had been shot twice in the back of the head, apparently while sitting on a picnic table taking off his boots.

According to an affidavit filed in the case, one of the witnesses, who also was a member of the hunting party, told the officers that he had been behind the cabin in the woods around 7 p.m. when he heard two gunshots.

When he walked to the front of the cabin, he encountered Mark De Simone, another member of the hunting party, who allegedly said, “I shot Tony. I shot him. It’s my fault,” the affidavit states.

De Simone, 53, was taken into custody at the scene and has been charged with first-degree murder as well as two counts of second-degree murder, one count of manslaughter and one count of criminally negligent homicide. He was arraigned Tuesday, with bail set at $500,000, and a grand jury is set to hear his case Friday.  

20160519 Tony-drawingThis image provided by family friend Cathy Johnson shows sketches of rings by jeweler Duilio Rosales, who was known by many as Tony.
Morgan Cruz, whose husband Vladimir Cruz grew up with Rosales in Nicaragua and was close to him like a brother, said the jeweler moved from Miami to Juneau to live with them in 2011.

Rosales, who came from a family of jewelers in Nicaragua, found his job at The Jewel Box shortly thereafter and never left.

“The community loved him. He was known in Juneau,” she said. “(The Jewel Box) is the only jewelry store open all year ‘round, except for Fred Meyer. The rest are tourist jewelry stores.”

De Simone, according to Cruz, lived in Juneau previously.

Outside of Alaska, he spent time in Arizona where he served as a state representative from 2007 to mid-2008 when he resigned for “personal reasons,” according to the clerk’s office at the Arizona State Legislature. The New York Times reported that he stepped down after being charged with misdemeanor assault for hitting his wife in the face.

Cruz said De Simone returned to Juneau about a month ago. He knew The Jewel Box’s owners, Bill and Sherry Young, and had done some odd jobs around their store, she said. Bill Young has two cabins at Excursion Inlet and had organized the hunting trip.

She said family and friends are still to struggling to understand his motive, as the two men had only seen each other a few times prior to the trip. “This man didn’t know him. He wasn’t from here,” Cruz said of De Simone.

Numerous news reports indicate, however, that alcohol might have played a role in Sunday’s shooting. Alcohol also was reportedly a factor in the 2008 incident that led to De Simone resigning from the state legislature in Arizona.

No one answered the phone at The Jewel Box all day on Wednesday and a message left on the store’s answering machine went unreturned. A message left for owner Sherry Young also went unreturned.

Cruz’s mother, Cathy Johnson, has set up a GoFundMe account to help with the funeral and travel costs involved in bringing the 34-year-old Rosales, who leaves behind his wife Maria and two young daughters, Ashley and Emily, home to his family in Nicaragua.

The goal is $15,000 and, as of Thursday morning, more than half of that had been raised.

Donations also can be made at any Wells Fargo bank, where a memorial fund has been set up in Rosales’ name.

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