The Kansas Supreme Court on Friday upheld the capital murder conviction of a Wichita man who shot and killed an employee of a Dollar General Store and a grandfather shopping inside in 2012.
Marquis J. Marshall, in his appeal, claimed he didn’t get a fair trial when he was tried for the Nov. 30 slayings of Zachary Hunt and Henry Harvey because Sedgwick County District Court officials didn’t order him to undergo a competency evaluation or look more deeply into his requests for a new lawyer. He also claimed a judge misspoke when he read instructions for deliberations to his jury.
But justices, in a unanimous decision, rejected those arguments, saying they found no evidence to support Marshall’s claims.
Marshall, in his appeal, said he and his lawyer didn’t see “eye to eye.” The Kansas Supreme Court, in its decision, noted that Marshall filed two motions to fire his defense lawyer and one asking for a mental evaluation at Larned State Hospital. All were either withdrawn by Marshall or denied because Marshall was vague in his complaints.
In September 2013, Marshall started refusing to meet with his lawyer before his trial began.
In his appeal, Marshall said the court erred when it did not ask him undergo a competency evaluation because he had previously asked for an evaluation at Larned State Hospital. Marshall said he had been sent to Larned before and had taken “meds for mental problems” in the past.
The court found that Marshall’s behavior in interviews with detectives and other pre-trial interactions displayed mental competency on Marshall’s part – that he understood what was being alleged against him and could assist in the defense.
Finally, Marshall said his judge mistakenly told the jury that Marshall had pleaded guilty to the capital murder charge, providing a transcript of court proceedings as evidence. The court investigated Marshall’s claim and found the judge had told the jury he pleaded “not guilty,” and that a court reporter had mistakenly omitted the word “not.” An amended version of the transcript was filed later, according to the Supreme Court decision.
The ruling was written by Justice Eric Rosen.
According to evidence presented at his trial, Marshall walked into the Dollar General at 13th and Oliver in Wichita shortly after 8 p.m. the night of the shootings, walked up and down an aisle, then moved toward the front of the store, .22-caliber gun in hand. He shot Hunt, who was ringing up Harvey’s purchases, three times and then fired three more rounds into Harvey’s back.
Harvey had gone to Dollar General to purchase candy for his grandchildren.
In his rush to flee, Marshall left a palm print on the store’s glass entry door, which law enforcement used to tie him to the murders. Authorities arrested him two days later during a traffic stop.
Marshall remains incarcerated at Lansing Correctional Facility.