Man found guilty of battery for beating his wife

March 17, 1994|By Darren M. Allen | Darren M. Allen,Sun Staff Writer

Guy Gordon Marsh, who served 14 years in state prison on a 1973 murder conviction that eventually was overturned, yesterday was convicted in Carroll Circuit Court of beating his wife during an argument last year.

After four hours of testimony in the nonjury trial, Circuit Judge Luke K. Burns Jr. found the 47-year-old New Windsor man guilty of battery.

Marsh's wife, Mary, chose not to testify against her husband. The couple walked out of the courtroom together, but they had argued loudly during breaks in the trial.

Marsh was convicted in May 1992 of second-degree rape after he admitted having sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl. He was given a suspended three-year sentence and three years of probation in that case.

Marsh gained national attention when he was released from prison in 1987 after serving more than 14 years of a life-plus-10-year sentence. That sentence stemmed from the June 1971 slaying of Charles R. Erdman, who was shot when he tried to stop a robbery at a Glen Burnie 7-Eleven.

The conviction was overturned after a key trial witness admitted that she had lied in her testimony. Anne Arundel County prosecutors later decided not to re-try Marsh because they felt they did not have enough evidence to convict him.

Since then, Marsh's story has been told on nationally syndicated television shows. He filed, but lost, a multimillion-dollar federal lawsuit against an Anne Arundel County detective he accused of coercing the lying witness.

In a defiant 20-minute appearance on the witness stand yesterday, Marsh lashed out at prosecutors, police and the criminal justice system. He said he was framed on April 25, 1993, when, he said, he and his wife got into an argument that turned "rough."

"I felt I was being railroaded, just like I was back in 1973," Marsh said. "I was trying to keep her from hitting me because she was a wild woman."

Marsh was arrested April 25, 1993, at the couple's home in Westminster after a night of drinking with friends, testimony revealed. According to charging documents, Marsh struck his wife several times in the eyes, face and head with his fist.

Mrs. Marsh did not seek medical treatment, according to court documents and testimony.

Mrs. Marsh's mother and sister testified yesterday to describe her injuries.

A day after Marsh's arrest, Judge Burns signed a temporary restraining order against him.

In her application for the restraining order, Mrs. Marsh wrote, "He pulled me by my hair, then threw me down on the floor. . . . He also threatened to kill me if I didn't get out of my house. I'm really scared of him and just want him away."

A month later, Mrs. Marsh withdrew her complaint for a protective order.

Marsh's attorney, M. Gordon Tayback, argued that the couple was engaged in mutual aggression and that the defendant was protecting himself the night of the beating.

Assistant State's Attorney Kathi Hill said she was pleased with the judge's decision.

"It's especially important in domestic violence cases to go forward to protect the victim, even sometimes in spite of herself," Ms. Hill said after the trial. "It's a real sad commentary that these spouses keep going back."

Judge Burns set sentencing for June 13. Any sentence he imposes for the battery conviction could be increased by as much as three years if Judge Burns finds that Marsh violated the terms of his probation in the rape case. One of the terms of Marsh's unsupervised probation is that he must not be convicted of any crimes.

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