Principal witness testifies in murder trial

She says she was outside home waiting for couple when man was shot in 1984

September 10, 2004|By Jennifer McMenamin | Jennifer McMenamin,SUN STAFF

Candice C. Marsh had been to John Andrykis' home near Lynch Cove in Dundalk only two or three times when, she said, she drove her brother-in-law and his girlfriend there the night of Oct. 6, 1984, to try to get money or cocaine from the man.

She said that because she was afraid of Andrykis' dog, she stayed in the car -- until she heard arguing.

"I got out of my car to see what was going on, and I heard gunshots. My legs went out. Then I heard Mr. John saying, `my heart, my heart,'" Marsh told a jury yesterday in Baltimore County Circuit Court during the second day of testimony in the murder trial of her former brother-in-law, David W. Marsh, 45, and his one-time girlfriend, Joann Knight, 46.

Lawyers for the defendants, however, say the prosecution's principal witness is not to be believed. They questioned her at length about her admitted history of using and selling drugs, as well as her nearly two decades of silence regarding the killing.

Candice Marsh testified that she spoke of the shooting to only a friend and her minister until two police detectives working in Baltimore County's cold-case unit knocked on her door in March.

"I lived with this for so long; I couldn't live with it no longer. I was glad they had come to see me," the 46-year-old Dundalk woman told the jurors, saying the defendants had threatened her to keep quiet.

Andrykis, 69, a retired Teamsters organizer, was found dead Oct. 7, 1984, with seven gunshot wounds -- primarily in his torso -- and blunt-force trauma to his head.

Police determined that Andrykis' house had been burglarized several times and that Andrykis suspected his girlfriend -- a woman then known as Joann Culotta -- and her "other boyfriend," David Marsh, were responsible, according to court documents. When questioned by police in 1984, the pair denied any involvement in the break-ins or the killing.

It wasn't until March of this year when the cold-case detectives interviewed Candice Marsh that police were able to arrest anyone in the case. Candice Marsh asserted that Knight and David Marsh had told her during the car ride home in 1984 that David Marsh shot Andrykis, court records show. Authorities tracked down Knight -- who is charged under the name Joann Culotta rather than her married name -- in Florida. David Marsh was arrested in April in Hagerstown.

But defense attorneys, in their opening statements Wednesday, urged the jury to carefully consider Candice Marsh's credibility before deciding the case.

Pressed by Brian Murphy, a lawyer for David Marsh, to characterize the frequency of her drug use, Candice Marsh estimated that she has sold drugs 1,000 times and used PCP 1,000 times. She testified that she was prosecuted three times for selling cocaine, and has served time in Baltimore and Virginia prisons.

Candice Marsh also acknowledged that she pleaded guilty to a charge of making false statements to police after she lied about having her purse stolen on the way home from a pharmacy in December. She testified yesterday that she eventually admitted that her purse -- and the $580 inside it -- were stolen during an attempt to buy $20 worth of drugs in Baltimore with money she received as a Christmas gift.

"It was a mistake," she testified of the attempt to buy drugs, estimating that she has remained clean for three to five years.

The trial is scheduled to continue today.

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