Leader Blues

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

TOP STORY >> Murderer gets 30 after plea

By JOHN HOFHEIMER
Leader senior staff writer

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Chris Piazza on Tuesday sentenced Marlin Marbley, 25, to 30 years in prison for the beating death last year of his domestic partner, Cassondra Speer, 24, according to Deputy Prosecutor Leigh Patterson.

The couple had been living at a mobile home in the Plantation Village mobile home park in Jacksonville at the time, and had reportedly been together for about five years.

Marbley, who was slated for a jury trial early next month, entered a negotiated plea to first-degree murder on what was originally expected to be a plea date, Patterson said. “We’ve been in discussion with the family and with his attorney,” she said.

Marbley was represented by Lott Rolfe. Patterson said he would serve at least 21 of the 30 years under the 70 percent rule. Marbley asked to address the court, but Patterson objected, saying it could be hurtful to the family, which was in attendance. Piazza said he could make his statement in the form of a letter.

Marbley had been held on $500,000 bond although he’d pleaded not guilty to a felony count of first degree murder after police were dispatched to 2008 Hwy. 161 South-Lot 34 for an unknown domestic disturbance.

The mobile home was padlocked from the outside and police contacted the trailer park manager who opened a window and saw Speer lying in the hallway. The police report said Speer was apparently already dead when the manager first saw her. Jacksonville police spokesperson Lt. Martin Cass said Speer had probably died from “one blow to the head.”

Cass said Marbley went to his mother’s house in Jacksonville and told her he’d had a fight with Speer. His mother asked the asked the police to check on Speer. Marbley had blood on him at the time of his arrest, Cass said at the time.