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Triple murder trial postponed another week

Jury selection in the triple murder trial of Roger Marshall has been postponed another week.

Last month, Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge Richard Walton granted defense attorneys a continuance until April 11 to allow them to better prepare for the trial. Earlier this month, Marshall's lead counsel, Charles Knight was granted a second continuance for personal reasons. This will push jury selection back until April 18, with opening arguments expected to commence two weeks later. Jury selection in the trial had been scheduled for Feb. 7.

Knight said in spite of the delays, preparation for the trial is actually progressing well.

"It is not unusual in felony cases where there is the possibility of capital punishment to take up to a year to prepare and to get to trial," Knight said. "We're moving quickly for a trial of this nature. These are pretty complicated cases."

Knight said one of the most difficult considerations in this case is Marshall's age: He is 56 years old. Should he be convicted, the minimum sentence is 15 years to life. "A long term incarceration is basically a life sentence for him," Knight said. "Fifteen years in a maximum security facility,

for a 56-year-old, survival is not likely."

Lawrence County Prosecutor J.B. Collier was not available for comment on the latest continuance in the trial.

Marshall is accused of setting a fire at the Lyle Motel in Ironton Aug. 2, 2004. The fire killed three

people, James M. Reed, Lolaetta Corbin and John Meyer. Because other people were at the motel at the time of the fire, Marshall is charged with 12 counts of aggravated arson as well as three counts of murder.

Marshall's case is the first death penalty case in Lawrence County since the Leon Aliff trial in 1999.