A Village Police Officer has been arrested in Mountain Village for tampering with evidence in a high-stakes murder case. John Hunter, age 22, is accused of stealing a cellphone from the victim’s body at the crime scene. The alleged theft could complicate a particularly brutal homicide case, which involves two teenagers and a robbery gone wrong.
In April, Coy Bryan was shot “execution style” in a botched home robbery. He was only 18, and the boy accused of killing him is younger than that. At 16, Raymond Landlord has been charged with murder in the first degree. Due to the severity of the crime, he’s being tried as an adult.
The Alaska State Troopers investigated the murder extensively, mobilizing a team of officers from at least six different agencies to respond. But it’s not clear how secure the crime scene was before the Troopers got there, and Village Police Officer John Hunter may have used that to his advantage.
According to an affidavit filed by Alaska State Trooper Todd Moehring, Hunter has confessed to prying Coy Bryan’s cellphone out of his pocket while he was watching the teenager’s body. The cellphone is worth about $300. Moehring writes that VPO Hunter tried, but failed to bypass the phone’s security features, then tried to get rid of the phone’s “registered component” to prevent the Troopers from tracking it. The Troopers were able to trace him anyway, and they arrested him on Thursday, May 17.
VPO Hunter has been charged with theft and tampering with physical evidence, among other charges. It’s unclear how the alleged theft will impact the murder case against 16-year-old Raymond Landlord, or if it casts doubt on other evidence found at the crime scene.
Hunter’s bail is set at $2,000 cash. His next hearing is scheduled for May 25.