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Motive in Dollar General killings unclear, say investigators

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Monday, Dec. 3, 2012, at 11:41 a.m.
  • Updated Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013, at 6:43 a.m.

Wichita police weren’t speculating Monday about why a 19-year-old man with a history of nonviolent crimes would gun down a 22-year-old clerk and 79-year-old customer at a Dollar General store.

Evidence at the scene, interviews with witnesses and surveillance tape from inside the store near 13th and Oliver offered no clear motive for the shooting, Lt. Scott Heimerman said.

“I’ve watched the video 100 times, and I can’t get a good feel” for it, he said.

Nothing was taken from the store, Heimerman said, and the suspect, Marquis Marshall, has no apparent ties to the victims.

Marshall, 19, was booked into the Sedgwick County Jail on two counts of first-degree murder and is being held on $1 million bond. He is expected to be charged Tuesday in Sedgwick County District Court.

Court records show that Marshall has several property crime convictions in adult and juvenile court, but the only hint of violence in his criminal past was a misdemeanor conviction for the possession of a switchblade knife.

“This is by far the worst thing he has done,” Heimerman said.

The shooting occurred at 8:10 p.m. Friday when store clerk Zachary Hunt, 22, and customer Hank Harvey, 79, were each shot multiple times near the front of the store. Heimerman said two employees at the back of the store heard the shots but did not witness the shootings. He said two customers who came into the store after the shootings called 911 after finding the victims on the floor.

He said it’s likely that only three people ever knew what prompted the shooting, Heimerman said.

“Two of those individuals are deceased, and Mr. Marshall is not cooperating with us in the investigation,” he said.

“We are unable to exactly determine what the motive is. We haven’t eliminated anything at this point.”

Police have not said how they tied Marshall to the shootings, but his name and picture were circulated by police throughout the day Saturday as they tried to find him. Officers staked out several locations where they thought Marshall might be, Heimerman said, and they found him in a car after it drove away from one of those locations. Marshall was taken into custody at 4:09 p.m. near Second and Hillside and did not resist arrest, Heimerman said. He was not armed at the time of arrest, and police have not recovered the gun used in the shooting.

Heimerman said police think Marshall acted on his own.

“We are not looking for any other suspects in this case,” he said.

Although Marshall has no history of violent crime, he has appeared regularly in Sedgwick County’s criminal justice system.

In January 2008, when he was 14, Marshall was charged in juvenile court and pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated burglary and one count of misdemeanor theft, court records show. At the time he was charged, his father was incarcerated, a court document says.

A year after the burglary and theft charges, a March 2009 court document says, he was charged with possessing a switchblade knife – misdemeanor criminal use of a weapon. Marshall, then 16, pleaded guilty and was placed at a juvenile correctional facility.

He received schooling while in juvenile custody, including at the Judge Riddel Boys Ranch and for brief periods at Southeast and East high schools, said Wichita school district spokeswoman Susan Arensman. He withdrew from the boys ranch on Sept. 26, 2011.

Then earlier this year, in May, he was in trouble again, accused in Wichita Municipal Court of stealing men’s and women’s clothing and other items valued at $590 from a Walmart store at 6110 W. Kellogg. He pleaded no contest to theft, and a judge ordered him to pay $720 in fines and have no contact with Walmart, a court document says.

A month after the Walmart theft, he was accused of hitting a Dillons store at 3211 S. Seneca, stealing eight DVDs worth $115. In June he pleaded no contest in Municipal Court, and a judge ordered him to have no contact with Dillons and pay $570 in fines.

By the next month, this past July, he was suspected of stealing again, according to a police report. Because of the prior theft convictions, this time the theft charge was elevated to a felony. According to the July 12 charge, authorities alleged that he stole two 12-packs of beer from the Walmart at 3137 S. Seneca.

In a July 12 affidavit he filled out while applying for a court-appointed attorney, Marshall, by then 19, said he “got out of JCF” – juvenile correctional facility – and had been unemployed for a year. He said he was living with his mother and grandmother near 33rd Street South and Meridian.

Around July 20, he was released on a $2,500 bond and ordered to appear in court on July 26. Among the conditions of his bond was that he not have a firearm.

But according to an Aug. 9 court document, Marshall didn’t return to court for his preliminary hearing, and a judge issued a warrant for his arrest.

On Monday, a neighbor of Marshall’s on South 33rd Street said he was shocked that Marshall was a suspect in the shooting because he knew him as “just a friendly neighbor.”

A woman going into the home where Marshall lived declined to comment.

Contributing: Rick Plumlee of the Eagle

Reach Hurst Laviana at 316-268-6499 or hlaviana@wichitaeagle.com.

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