Marshall indictment tossed on error
The jury trial of a Wrangell man for a 2011 assault is now on hold after an indictment against him was dismissed in First District Court.
Steven Marshall, 53, who was arrested on Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011 at a residence in the Bloom Trailer Court after Wrangell Police Department officers responded to an argument between him and his girlfriend, will not go to trial next week as originally planned after Judge William B. Carey dismissed the indictment because of an error in the instructions given to members of the grand jury.
Although Carey’s order had not yet been signed by deadline for this story, District Attorney Jean Seaton offered comment and insight as to what the dismissal was about.
“Basically, the judge did not dismiss the case but he did find that there was a defect in the grand jury instructions,” Seaton said. “They were found defective to the point that the state would need to re-indict before there could be a trial.”
The critical error found by Carey centers on an instruction he believes was improperly given to the jury – and was one that essentially removed their ability to refuse to indict him if they believed he was innocent.
“It has to do with an instruction on whether or not they ‘shall’ find an indictment, or whether they ‘may’ find one,” she said. “I will have to wait for the written order to see exactly what conclusion he came to and what remedy he found.”
Fairbanks Superior Court Judge Randy Olsen ruled in September that the state must re-indict a former hockey coach who was charged with sexual abuse against a minor for the case to go to trial, and that a new grand jury would have to be presented the case to indict her and seek a conviction.
Marshall was indicted last December by a grand jury for a number of charges, including sexual assault, and is alleged to have raped, strangled and hit the victim, as well as threatening her with a machete, resulting in a hospitalization at Wrangell Medical Center.
According to Seaton, Marshall could face up to 35 years in state prison if re-indicted and convicted of Sexual Assault in the 1st Degree with a Dangerous Weapon.
Seaton added that the state will work to re-indict him.
Marshall is currently incarcerated at Ketchikan Correctional Center and his bail remains set at $100,000. His next hearing is set for Thursday, Dec. 6 at 9 a.m.