Third lawsuit filed against murderer, motel

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 14, 2006

A third lawsuit has been filed in connection with a fire — which was ruled arson — that killed three people two years ago.

The estate of Lolaetta Corbin Hicks filed the lawsuit July 26 against Roger Marshall, the man convicted of setting the deadly fire as well as the Lyle Motel and its owners, Jerry Carey, Rebecca Carey and Michael Carey in addition to

M&J Properties and unnamed “John Doe” business operators.

Email newsletter signup

The lawsuit seeks amounts in excess of $25,000 in both compensatory and punitive damages jointly and severally from the defendants.

The Hick family contends in their lawsuit that Marshall’s decision to set the Aug. 2, 2004, fire at the motel constituted a “willful and malicious act” and that the motel operators “negligently failed to provide adequate safety measures and failed to use ordinary care for second floor occupants in the case of fire.”

The lawsuit also alleges that motel operators disposed of Hick’s property after the fire without permission of her heirs, thereby reducing estate assets.

A telephone call was placed to motel owners but was not returned as of press time. None of the Careys have commented previously about other lawsuits filed in connection with the fire.

The families of the other two victims, John Meyer and James Reed, have already filed lawsuits against Marshall, the motel and its operators. The estate of James Reed filed a lawsuit last month; the estate of John Meyer filed a lawsuit in July 2005.

Authorities contended that Marshall used gasoline to set the second-floor fire out of anger and jealousy after Hicks jilted him for Meyer. Marshall pleaded innocent to all charges and contended he did not set the fire.

Marshall is serving a life sentence for the three counts of aggravated murder and eleven counts of aggravated arson, representing other people who lived at the motel and were at home in bed asleep during the early morning hours when the fire was set. He was convicted earlier this year and is now incarcerated at the Ross Correctional Center.