Jurors in Justin Marshall murder case go home, to resume deliberaitons Thursday

Marshall suspected in 2009 shooting death of Iowa City landlord Versypt

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Jurors went home Wednesday night without coming to a verdict in the first-degree murder trial of Justin Marshall in Iowa City.

The 12-member jury panel heard closing arguments Tuesday in the trial, and began their deliberations about 2 p.m. They left about 4:30 that day and resumed deliberations at 9 a.m. Wednesday.

The jurors continued deliberations over the lunch hour, ordering food in, and they left again at 4:45 p.m. Wednesday. They had only one question for attorneys – asking them to more clearly define the commission of a crime “through joint criminal conduct.”

Both Johnson County Attorney Janet Lyness and defense attorney Thomas Gaul asked the judge to refer jurors back to the instructions they have and to reread them closely. And the judge did that.

But Gaul reminded the judge that he objected to that instruction.

“We had made an objection to any instruction referring to aiding and abetting and joint criminal conduct because we thought the prosecution had not shown that and it shouldn’t be instructed,” Gaul said. “This is the problem with the court’s ruling, and this is what the jury is concentrating on.”

Marshall, 22, was one of three people arrested in the fatal shooting of John Versypt, 64, of Cordova, Ill., on Oct. 8, 2009. He’s accused of shooting Versypt in the hand and through the head during an attempted robbery at the Broadway Condominium complex in south Iowa City.

Charles Thompson, 20, was the first arrest in February 2010, followed by Marshall in July 2011 and then Courtney White, 25, in October 2011.

Thompson was the first person to be tried, but his case ended in a mistrial, and he eventually pleaded guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for his testimony against Marshall.

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