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OH- Deputies find jailed man dead

1-16-2005 Ohio:

CANTON — A 39-year-old Jackson Township man arrested on sex-related charges after a 15-year-old California runaway was found in his home hanged himself in his jail cell just after midnight Saturday.

Richard L. Marshall, 39, of 2729 Blackfriars Dr. NW, spoke at 11:59 p.m. Friday to corrections officers at the Stark County Jail when they came to his cell in the “special precautions” wing, Sheriff Tim Swanson said. Prisoners posing a suicide risk are housed in separate cells that corrections officers check every 15 minutes.

“He wanted to know what time it was,” the sheriff said.

When corrections officers came back at 12:17 a.m., “They found him hanging, ran in and cut him down,” Swanson said.

Stark County Coroner Dr. P.S. Murthy said Marshall was pronounced dead at Mercy Medical Center at 1:06 a.m. Murthy said he died of asphyxiation from the hanging.

Marshall, who had nothing in the cell but the mattress and the specially-designed “suicide prevention” garment that can’t be torn or tied into a knot, had peeled the outer skin from the vinyl-coated mattress and used it to hang himself, said Rick Walters, Murthy’s investigator.

Marshall had been booked into the jail shortly after 2 p.m. Friday and held in lieu of $100,000 bond, jail records said.

He was arrested and charged with unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, pandering obscenity involving a minor and importuning Thursday night after agents of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force found the girl in his apartment.

Court records said the Marshall arranged for her bus ride to Ohio, and that the two engaged in sexual intercourse. Task force agent Bobby Grizzard, who is also a Massillon Police detective, said that the girl met Marshall online and her parents were flying in from Sacramento to reunite with her.

Police said Marshall was unemployed and living alone when they found the girl.

Marshall’s brother, Raymond Marshall, said the girl had told his brother and several other family members that she is 23.

“Around the holiday time, he said he had been talking to a nice girl on the computer, that he had been slightly acquainted with her, and she had even talked to his daughters,” said his sister, Sharon Marshall.

He was the father of two girls, ages 11 and 13, and shared parenting with his ex-wife, she said.

A member of St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church, Richard Marshall graduated in 1983 from Perry High School and went straight into the U.S. Marine Corps, said his brother, also a Marine.

After serving three or four years, he went to work as a truck driver for Fleming Foods, where he remained for 13 years, his brother and other family members said.

“He was a big Steelers fan,” said Raymond Marshall. “He loved to fish. He loved to bowl.”

Then he was severely injured in a car crash. He could no longer work.

“(Doctors) didn’t expect him to come out of it,” said Sharon Marshall. “He did, but it left him with a severe head injury and problems with motor skills and walking. Mentally, he was just as sharp as he always was. He was in accounting in the Marine Corps.

“Physically and emotionally, it took its toll. With his physical disability, it was harder for him to meet people. His right leg and his right arm shook like someone with Parkinson’s disease.”

In the year it took to recover, during which time he couldn’t leave the house, Richard Marshall grew interested in his computer, his siblings said. It provided a method of communication that kept him physically invisible.

Through it, family members and police confirmed, he met the girl from California.

When he was arrested Thursday night, Richard Marshall was being treated for severe depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, his brother said.

Sharon Marshall said her brother’s divorce, followed by the deaths of both parents, a grandmother and a sister, took as much of a toll on him as did recent news from doctors that his physical condition wasn’t improving.

Swanson confirmed Marshall was under special precautions. Swanson said corrections officers did what they were supposed to do and that no internal investigation is pending.

Murthy continued to investigate Marshall’s death on Saturday. ..more.. by Lori Monsewicz at (330) 580-8309 or e-mail:

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