‘Blind Faith’ killer resentenced to life in prison
TOMS RIVER, N.J. – A former death row inmate whose case inspired the book and miniseries “Blind Faith” was resentenced Friday to life in prison and will now be eligible for parole in eight years.Robert O. Marshall was convicted of arranging his wife’s and had been first in line for execution in New Jersey, but his death sentence was overturned last year on the grounds that his lawyer didn’t adequately defend him.The 65-year-old was resentenced to life without parole for 30 years. He gets credit for the 22 years he already has served, making him eligible for release in 2014.The former insurance salesman was convicted in 1986 of hiring Billy Wayne McKinnon and Larry N. Thompson to kill Maria Marshall at a rest stop along the Garden State Parkway. Marshall wanted to collect $1.5 million in life insurance and continue an affair with another woman.McKinnon, the state’s key witness, testified he orchestrated the murder at Marshall’s request.The jury convicted Marshall but acquitted Thompson, who prosecutors alleged was the triggerman. McKinnon and another accomplice, Robert Cumber, served prison time.After Marshall’s death sentence was overturned by a federal appeals court last year, prosecutor Thomas F. Kelaher determined that the passage of time would have made obtaining a second death sentence difficult and that another appeal would have delayed “just closure” for the family.Nine men are on death row in New Jersey. The state though has not put anyone to death since 1963 and has a moratorium on executions.
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