Closing arguments on tap in Marshall murder trial

Man suspected in 2009 shooting death of Iowa City landlord Versypt; replay live coverage

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Attorneys trying the Justin Marshall murder case finished presenting evidence on Monday and will make their closing arguments in the infamous 2009 Iowa City homicide Tuesday morning.

Sixteen jurors returned Monday for their third week of testimony in the fatal shooting of a landlord that rocked the community and sparked heated debate about socioeconomic diversity. Following jury instructions, closing arguments and the selection of alternates on Tuesday, the remaining 12 jurors are expected to begin deliberating Marshall’s fate.

Marshall, 22, is charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of John Versypt, 64, of Cordova, Ill. on Oct. 8, 2009. Versypt, according to police, was a landlord of several units in the Broadway Condominium complex and was doing some maintenance at the complex when he was fatally shot during an attempted robbery.

If convicted, Marshall faces a life sentence in prison.

Prosecutors’ final witnesses on Monday included two more jailhouse “snitches” who said Marshall confessed to them that he killed Versypt. Both men said that Marshall asked them if they thought he could get his charge downgraded from murder to manslaughter.

They both talked about a confession that Marshall wrote down in a yellow legal pad. Prosecutors obtained that pad, along with the confession, and the jury will be allowed to read through Madrshall’s writings in their deliberations.

Defense attorneys countered the jailhouse witness testimony by saying they could be making up stories about Marshall to try and get time off their sentences. Both men admitted to wanting less time behind  bars but said they wouldn’t make up information because that could land them life in prison.

The only witness the defense called was Stacy Marshall, Justin Marshall’s aunt who he was living with at the Broadway Apartments at the time of the shooting. Stacy Marshall said that when she returned home that day, about an hour before the shooting, her nephew was there and she didn’t hear him leave.

But, upon cross examination, prosecutors pointed out that Stacy Marshall’s story is different than it was in 2009 when she talked to police. At that time, according to prosecutors, Stacy Marshall said Justin Marshall got home after her and that she closed her door and fell asleep, meaning Marshall could have left the apartment without her knowing.

Marshall chose not to testify in his own defense.

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