Wednesday, November 14, 2001

Plea deal in kidnap case

N.J. suspect to get life in Florence slaying

By Peter Eichenbaum
Asbury Park Press

        TRENTON, N.J. — A New Jersey man is expected to plead guilty today to a federal kidnapping charge and avoid the death penalty by admitting his role in the April 2000 abduction and strangulation of a British computer consultant, his lawyer said Tuesday.

        Gregory J. Marcinski, 24, was accused of abducting 28-year-old Paul Jeffrey Gale from a Florence hotel room and driving back to New Jersey, where two accomplices helped him bury the victim in a swampy grave about two miles from Mr. Marcinski's home in Ocean County.

        Authorities have said that Mr. Marcinski, helped by two other Ocean County men who have already pleaded guilty to lesser crimes, doused Mr. Gale's body with gasoline, set it ablaze and ran over it with a pickup truck.

        Mr. Gale's parents and twin brother, who live in Birmingham, England, are expected to be present when Mr. Marcinski appears at 1 p.m. today in Trenton, N.J., before U.S. District Court Judge Garrett E. Brown Jr.

        Richard Coughlin, Mr. Marcinski's federal public defender, said his client will spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole and the government, in exchange, has agreed to drop it's pursuit of the death penalty.

        A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office declined comment.

        Mr. Marcinski, a volunteer emergency medical technician, flew into a jealous rage when he learned that Mr. Gale had been dating his ex-girlfriend, Darla Guidie of Brick, N.J., according to FBI documents.

        On April 16 of last year, authorities say, Mr. Marcinski hopped into his grandmother's 1989 Buick Century and drove 800 miles to the Holiday Inn in Florence, where Mr. Gale had been staying during a business trip.

        Mr. Gale lived in Mount Laurel, N.J., where he worked as a computer programmer for TRW Integrated Supply.

        Authorities say Mr. Marcinski — using bogus FBI credentials and his EMT badge — persuaded the hotel staff to take him to Mr. Gale's room. Both men emerged from the room five minutes later, and Mr. Gale, handcuffed, was placed in the front seat of the Buick; it was the last time anyone other than Mr. Marcinski reported seeing Mr. Gale alive, according to FBI documents.

        Mr. Marcinski, who is currently being held in Monmouth County Jail, Freehold, N.J., will plead guilty at a later date in Kentucky to a state kidnapping charge.

        The sentences will run concurrently, Mr. Coughlin said.


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