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Marshall Post-Conviction Relief Bid Rejected

Robert Marshall, the onetime Toms River insurance agent originally sentenced to death in 1986 for arranging his wife’s murder, has had his application for reconsideration of his re-sentencing dismissed by the Ocean County Superior Court judge who delivered it.

Judge Wendel E. Daniels issued the denial six years after adjusting Marshall’s sentence to life imprisonment with no parole for 30 years. He was given credit for his 22 years on Death Row, giving him parole eligibility in 2014.

A federal appeals court overturned his death sentence in 2004, on grounds of inadequate legal help. Until that point, he had been the state’s longest-serving Death Row inmate since capital punishment was reinstated in 1982.

The 73-year-old’s story was convicted of hiring two men from Louisiana to kill his wife Maria at a Garden State Parkway rest stop in 1984, in order to collect a $1,500,000 insurance policy and continue an extramarital affair. The episode became the subject of the book “Blind Faith” by Joe McGinniss, and a subsequent television drama.

“Marshall cited deteriorating physical and mental health as factors warranting a reduction in his sentence,” said Ocean County Prosecutor Marlene Lynch Ford in a prepared statement. “Judge Daniels noted that the Court was aware of Marshall’s health at the time of the re-sentencing in 2006, and that Marshall’s present health condition does not rise to the level of severity which would warrant his release.”

According to Ford, Judge Daniels “also noted that the crime for which Marshall was convicted and sentenced, the murder of his wife, was taken into account in determining that the interests of justice do not warrant a reduction in Marshall’s sentence.”

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