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Defendant says statement was coerced

October 12, 2005|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

Facing trial on charges he beat a man to death in November 2004, 18-year-old Justin Kyle Marshall testified Tuesday during a suppression hearing that police coerced him to make a taped statement about his alleged involvement in the crime.

Marshall has been charged with first- and second-degree murder and other offenses in the Nov. 3 beating death of Curtis Eugene Hill Sr.

Hill, 46, was found dead, the victim of a fatal beating, under a tree by Russo's Rx Pharmacy on North Cannon Avenue at about 7 a.m. Police allege in charging documents that Marshall and co-defendant Larry Wayne Shriner, 21, followed Hill down a nearby alley at about 1 a.m, beat him, dragged him under the tree and then went to a nearby party. According to court documents, Shriner, with Marshall with him in a car on one occasion, checked twice during the morning to see if Hill was alive.

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Marshall's trial on the charges is scheduled to begin Jan. 4, according to court documents.

Tuesday's hearing in Washington County Circuit Court was held to consider whether Marshall's taped statement Nov. 3 to police detectives and evidence recovered during the subsequent search of his grandparents' home should be kept from the trial.

Circuit Judge Donald E. Beachley did not make a ruling Tuesday. Following about four hours of testimony, he asked Deputy State's Attorney Steven Kessell and Marshall's attorneys, Deputy Public Defender Mary Riley and Assistant Public Defender Eric Reed, to submit to him case law supporting their arguments within a week.

Marshall, who was 17 at the time of his arrest and charged as an adult, testified he "was doing what (police) told me to do" when he signed two forms, including his waiver of Miranda rights, and went on to make a taped statement about his alleged involvement in Hill's beating death.

He testified that he understood, from conversations with detectives, that, "If I didn't talk to them, I'd get a lot of time."

Detective Shawn Schultz testified such promises were "absolutely not" made.

"I never got a statement based on a coercion or anything," Schultz testified.

Marshall's grandmother, Mary Mowen, testified that she was confused and emotional when detectives arrived at her house requesting to search Marshall's room for clothes. Marshall told detectives during the taped interview they could go to his grandmother's house to get the clothes he wore the morning of Hill's death, Schultz testified.

Mowen testified that she was told "it would be best to cooperate. It would be best for Justin" before she signed off on the search of her house. Mowen testified she didn't remember signing the search-consent form.

Schultz told Riley that he "never" gave Mowen such a promise when Riley asked him if he ever told Mowen that the search "would help her grandson."

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