State, defense rest in Marshall trial, closing arguments to start today


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Stacy Marshall’s recollection about the placement of her nephew on the afternoon of Oct. 8, 2009, proved to be a point of contention during her testimony on Monday.

Her nephew, 22-year-old Justin Marshall, is charged with first-degree murder in connection with the shooting death of Iowa City landlord John Versypt. Closing arguments in Justin Marshall’s trial are expected to begin this morning.

Stacy Marshall told the jury Justin Marshall lived in her apartment at the time of the slaying. Stacy Marshall’s two daughters and one of her daughter’s boyfriends, Charles Thompson, also lived in the apartment at that time.

Thompson was the first to be charged in Versypt’s murder, but an error by prosecutors led to a mistrial in his case in September 2011. He later accepted a deal to plead guilty to accessory to a felony and sign documents stating Marshall killed Versypt.

Justin Marshall first alerted Stacy Marshall of a disturbance in the apartment complex on the day of the killing, she said.

“My nephew came to my door and told me,” she said. “He said something was going on in the hallway.”

Stacy Marshall said she went to the balcony of her apartment and saw police arriving in the parking lot.

“They were there well into the night,” she said. “I told them I didn’t hear anything or see anything.”
Stacy Marshall said she was gone most of the day on Oct. 8 and didn’t return to the apartment until around 3 p.m. When she came home, Justin Marshall was in the apartment on the computer, and her daughter was in her bedroom with Thompson, she testified.

But Johnson County prosecutor Janet Lyness asked Stacy Marshall about a deposition she gave on Oct. 21, 2009. According to a transcript Lyness read, Stacy Marshall at that time said Justin Marshall was not in the apartment when she returned home, but that he entered the apartment shortly after her.

“I remember Justin being there when I got home when I opened the door,” she said. “I don’t remember too many things about the deposition that I gave back then.”

After police arrived, Stacy Marshall said she never saw Justin Marshall change clothes nor did she see or hear anyone leave her apartment.

Her testimony contradicted Thompson’s testimony from last week, during which he said Justin Marshall “put his pants in a Wal-Mart bag … and put the Wal-Mart bag inside the big trash bag.”

Thompson said he then left Stacy Marshall’s apartment with his girlfriend and Justin Marshall, another contradiction with Monday’s testimony.

Before the defense called Stacy Marshall — its only witness of the trial — the state called its final three witnesses, including two inmates who were serving sentences while Justin Marshall was in jail.

Inmate Antonio Martin said while he and Justin Marshall were housed together at Muscatine County Jail, Justin Marshall approached him for help getting information about involuntary manslaughter.

Martin said Justin Marshall originally told him he was on his way to sell the gun used to kill Versypt when someone came up from behind him and scared him and then the gun went off.

“He said it all happened so quick,” Martin said.

But Justin Marshall’s story changed slightly every time he told it, Martin testified, so he told him to write it on paper.

Martin said Justin Marshall wrote down his side of the story on a yellow legal pad and gave it to Martin so he could ask his lawyer for information.

Justin Marshall hoped “his side of the story would get him a lesser charge,” Martin said.

Defense attorney Thomas Gaul attempted to discredit Martin’s testimony by pointing out that he may benefit from testifying. The first time Martin testified in a different case his sentence was reduced from 32 years to 12 years.

“Can you make a career testifying?” Gaul asked Martin. “The point is, you can go from 32 years to nothing.”

Justin Marshall will not testify in the case. If convicted, he faces life in prison.

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