Cedar Rapids, Iowa News, Sports, and Weather
Justin Marshall Murder Trial Deliberations Continue
By Vanessa Miller, Reporter
IOWA CITY -- The 12 jurors deciding the fate of first-degree murder suspect Justin Marshall have resumed their deliberations this morning in the Johnson County courthouse.
Jurors heard closing arguments Tuesday in the trial, which is in its third week. They immediately began deliberating, about 2 p.m. and left at 4:30 p.m. They returned at 9 a.m. today.
Marshall, 22, is accused in the shooting death of John Versypt, 64, of Cordova, Ill. According to police, Versypt was a landlord for units in the Broadway Condominium complex, and he was checking on his properties when he was fatally shot during an attempted robbery on Oct. 8, 2009.
Marshall was among three people arrested in the killing. Charles Thompson, 20, was first in February 2010, followed by Marshall in July 2011 and then Courtney White, 25, in October 2011.
All three men were charged with first-degree murder, but Thompson's case ended in a mistrial and he subsequently pleaded guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for his testimony against Marshall.
During the attorneys' closing arguments on Tuesday, prosecutors said Marshall confessed to killing Versypt to three inmates while in the Muscatine County Jail. Johnson County Attorney Janet Lyness said the men have entered into cooperation agreements with authorities, and if they lie, they could spend many more years in prison – even up to life.
But defense attorney Thomas Gaul said the men are motivated to make up any information to get out of prison early. He said the prosecution has no physical evidence against his client and they are counting on the statements from three hardened criminals.
Jurors have not yet come back to attorneys with questions since beginning their deliberations.
If convicted, Marshall faces life in prison.