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Teenager charged in Mat-Su quadruple murder was on pretrial release

Published: Dec. 1, 2020 at 2:06 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A teenager who was wearing an electronic monitor while on pretrial supervision shot and killed four relatives a week after his latest release from jail, according to charging documents.

Malachi Maxon, 18, is in custody, facing several felony charges including four counts of first-degree murder after early morning shootings on Monday at two separate locations in the Mat-Su Borough.

Four dead, two crime scenes, one suspect

According to an affidavit written by an Alaska State Trooper, AST got a call at 3:13 a.m. about a possible suicide at an address in Wasilla. Troopers responded and found 18-year-old Wasilla resident Cody Roehl had been shot but was still alive. He was transported to the hospital where he later died of his injuries.

The affidavit states an individual identified by the initials CR told troopers that Maxon had been in the home with Roehl when CR went to bed. CR revealed that Maxon and Roehl were cousins, and said he was not aware of any verbal or physical altercation between any member of the family.

Maxon, a white Jeep Liberty, and a semi-automatic Glock pistol with a loaded magazine that belonged to CR were missing from the home and surveillance footage showed the vehicle leaving around 3:05 a.m., according to the document.

Troopers reviewed court records and discovered Maxon had been arrested for a family assault and was released from jail on electronic monitoring with the Pretrial Enforcement Division.

Using information transmitted from the device, investigators were able to learn Maxon was at a home on N. Valley Way in Palmer at 3:55 a.m., around the same time that the Palmer Police Department started receiving calls about shots fired at the residence.

According to the affidavit, PPD officers arrived at the home and found someone had broken in through a basement window. Inside, Kimora Buster, 43, was found dead on the floor. Ellison Buster, 7, was found deceased in his bed. Sienna Buster, 10, had also been shot but was alive, and a 6-year-old identified by the initials AB was found in bed with Ellison and uninjured.

Sienna Buster later died after being transported to a hospital.

The affidavit identifies Kimora Buster as Maxon’s “1st Aunt,” and states Maxon had been living with the Buster family for a few days.

“The scene revealed spent cartridge casings outside the broken front window, and the number of bullets fired at each person appeared to be about the same, with the exception of Ellison,” AST wrote. “In the bed where Ellison and AB were found, there were several more bullet defects that there were with the other bodies. Maxon likely fired more shots in an attempt to hit AB, who was sleeping near the wall.”

Around 4:07 a.m. Monday morning, troopers pulled Maxon over in the stolen vehicle on the Glenn Highway near Mirror Lake, according to AST.

The affidavit states Maxon attempted to escape while he was being transferred from one location to another. He allegedly tried to get to nearby trees, grabbed an officer, and attempted to take a trooper’s holster.

Maxon faces four counts of first-degree murder, one count of first-degree attempted murder, one count of second-degree theft, one count of first-degree vehicle theft, one count of third-degree assault, and first-degree attempted escape.

At his scheduled arraignment Tuesday afternoon, the judge announced Maxon would not be participating and rescheduled his hearing for Wednesday.

He is currently being held without bail.

‘It’s so unfair and unjust’

Those who knew the victims are grappling with feelings of loss, grief and shock.

Kimora Buster, 43, is one of four people murdered in the Mat-Su Borough on Nov. 30, 2020.
Kimora Buster, 43, is one of four people murdered in the Mat-Su Borough on Nov. 30, 2020.

Kim Thorp, general manger at Arctic Herbery where Kimora Buster worked, said she and her employees are trying to process what has happened.

“I think for most of yesterday, my body was just in shock,” said Thorp.

Later in the evening, she said, it started to hit her.

“You know this aching pain inside of you because it’s so unfair and unjust, what happened to her and her children, and you just want answers. And then you think of her surviving child and her family members and you know, your heart just continues to break for them,” said Thorp.

Thorp said she met Kimora Buster 20 years ago when they both worked together at a different job. They started working together again in 2018. She said Kimora Buster’s children were her world.

“She’s got this just glowing personality and this huge beaming smile... just full of love,” she said. “I mean, that was her name, her name was Kimora Love, you know, and that’s just who she was. She was just an essence of happiness and joyfulness, and she had this undying love for her children that she would talk about all the time.”

Editor’s note: A quote with strong language against the suspect has been removed from the bottom of the article out of a concern for balance in reporting. A photo of Kimora Buster has also been replaced.

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