PG County Murder Reversed; Brown Law’s 7th Life Sentence Overturned

A Prince George’s County judge vacated the murder conviction of Brown Law client Marlon Marshall, finding that his trial counsel was constitutionally ineffective for failing to consult a DNA expert. The case was litigated by Brown Law attorneys Justin Brown and Lylian Romero.
Marshall had been convicted in a 2017 murder that occurred at a Capitol Heights Exxon station. He has always maintained his innocence. One of the primary pieces of evidence against him was a knife found in his girlfriend’s car. The State introduced the knife into evidence and argued that it was the murder weapon. The police recovered DNA from the blade of the knife, but the Prince George’s County DNA lab reported that the results of the testing were “inconclusive.” Marshall’s trial counsel, despite his lack of experience with DNA issues, never consulted a DNA expert to challenge this finding or otherwise review the work of the police lab. Thus, the jury was left to believe that the DNA could have belonged to Marshall, but there was no way of knowing for sure. Marshall was eventually convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
Years later, on post-conviction, Brown Law brought in a leading DNA expert to review the work of the Prince George’s County lab. The DNA expert reached a very different conclusion. He found that Marshall and the victim were actually “excluded” from the genetic sample recovered from the knife blade. In other words, the DNA found on the knife did not come from Marshall or the victim. If this information had been known at the time of the trial, it is unlikely the knife could have been introduced into evidence – and Marshall likely would not have been convicted.
Marlon Marshall represents the seventh life sentence Brown Law has overturned.