Triple-murder trial still headed to appeal

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 29, 2006

Convicted murderer and arsonist Roger Marshall will soon have a new, yet to be named attorney representing him during his appeal of the murder and arson convictions against him.

Ironton attorney Mark McCown has stepped down as Marshall’s attorney for the appeals process, citing a conflict he was not aware of when he initially took the case last month.

Marshall, 59, of Ironton, was convicted in April of setting a fire Aug. 2, 2004, at the Lyle Motel, a blaze that killed Lolaetta Corbin Hicks, James Reed and John Myer.

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Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge Richard Walton sentenced him to two life terms without parole plus 10 years. The jury could have sentenced Marshall to death, but it was deadlocked during the sentencing phase and dismissed, essentially taking the death penalty off the table and leaving the sentencing in Walton’s hands.

Attorney David Reid Dillon, also of Ironton, said he has spoke informally with McCown about taking over the appeals case, which will be handled by the Ohio 4th District Court of Appeals, but did not confirm that he would do so.

“It is a possibility, but it’s not official,” Dillon said.

Because of the massive amount of paperwork, Marshall’s appeal has not been officially filed.

Marshall’s lack of an attorney could also delay the process further. After it is filed, oral arguments could take more than six months to be heard by the court and then several more months for a decision to be handed down.

Soon after the trial ended in April, Marshall’s court-appointed attorney Charles Knight, who represented him during his nearly two-week trial, said he intended to file an appeal.

At that time, Knight said he believed the chances of getting the verdict overturned were good for several different reasons. He said there was a questionable search performed at Marshall’s house the morning of the fire.

Also, there were allegations of misconduct that led to the dismissal of three jurors. One juror was kicked off the panel for reportedly talking about the case and a second was dismissed because she had been told about the other juror’s misconduct.

An alternate juror was also released from the case because she missed one day’s testimony.