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Wichita suspect wasn’t priority fugitive before Dollar General killings

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2012, at 6:04 p.m.
  • Updated Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013, at 6:43 a.m.

Nearly four months before Marquis Marshall was arrested in the shooting deaths of an employee and customer at a Dollar General store, an arrest warrant had been issued for him.

But although the 19-year-old Wichita man was wanted in a felony theft case, that case was relatively minor compared to charges other fugitives are facing, said Sedgwick County sheriff’s Capt. Brenda Dietzman, whose duties include overseeing five deputies and a sergeant who hunt down fugitives.

“We have to prioritize,” Dietzman said. “Unfortunately, he wasn’t at the top of our list.”

The one time a deputy checked at a home on West 33rd Street South where Marshall had stayed in the past, he was not there, Dietzman said Tuesday. She didn’t have access Tuesday to records on when that check occurred.

Marshall is being held on a $1 million bond, facing possible murder charges in an initial court appearance Wednesday. Police said they suspected him of shooting store employee Zachary Hunt, 22, and customer Hank Harvey, 79, at 8:10 p.m. Friday at the front of the Dollar General store near 13th and Oliver.

Normally, a deputy checking at an address for a fugitive will knock on the door, trying to contact the fugitive. “If we have good information that the person is inside, then we can go inside the house,” Dietzman said. “In fact, we can even use force. But we have to be judicious because we don’t like to do that.”

Deputies looking for Marshall also had done some “computer work on him,” trying to track him down, she said.

Often, deputies are looking for vehicles the fugitives are known to use, Dietzman said.

The deputies who hunt fugitives wear a uniform, sometimes the standard blue uniform, other times a black “tactical” uniform.

As of Tuesday morning, the Sheriff’s Office had 12,308 warrants, mostly for people wanted for things like not paying child support and breaking traffic laws. There were 1,261 felony warrants.

With those numbers, the sheriff’s warrants section has to set priorities, Dietzman said.

One priority is cases where people are wanted on three or more warrants. Marshall was wanted on two warrants in the same case: He was charged in July with felony theft after allegedly stealing two 12-packs of Milwaukee’s Best beer, valued at $13.38 each, from the Walmart at 3137 S. Seneca, court and police records show. The alleged theft became a felony because he had previous misdemeanor theft convictions. In the felony theft case, he also was charged with being a minor possessing alcohol.

After Marshall became a fugitive in the felony theft case, the Sheriff’s Office didn’t feature Marshall through media or its own website as one of its wanted fugitives, Dietzman said. The Sheriff’s Office generally publicizes fugitives when deputies have exhausted leads and are seeking the public’s help.

In Marshall’s case, a judge had a warrant issued for his arrest on Aug. 9, after he didn’t appear for a preliminary hearing in the felony theft case, court records show. He had been released on a $2,500 bond. Under the warrant, if he had been arrested, his bond would have been increased to $50,000, making it harder for him to be released from jail pending a trial.

One condition of his bond was that he not have a firearm.

The same address on 33rd Street South, near Meridian, where the deputy went looking for Marshall matches the address he listed in an application he made for a court-appointed attorney in July. He said then that he was living with his mother and grandmother.

Neighbors said they have seen Marshall at the home recently.

Reach Tim Potter at 316-268-6684 or tpotter@wichitaeagle.com

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