Saturday, January 11, 2003

Trial date for rape, murder case may be set

Lawyers plan to challenge confession

By Jim Hannah
The Cincinnati Enquirer

WARSAW, Ky. - A Gallatin County judge could use a Monday morning hearing to set a trial date for Marco Allen Chapman, accused of a home invasion that left two children dead and their mother and a sister seriously wounded.

Commonwealth Attorney Linda Tally Smith is seeking death for the Aug. 23 killings that shocked this rural town 46 miles southwest of Cincinnati.

Mr. Chapman, 31, of Union stands charged with two counts each of murder and attempted murder, and one count each of rape, robbery, burglary and being a persistent felony offender. Mr. Chapman is accused of killing Chelbi Sharon, 7, and her brother, Cody Sharon, 6.

Their mother, Carolyn Marksberry, survived 15 stab wounds and their sister, Courtney, 10 at the time, suffered cuts to the face.

Public defender John Delaney of Covington said he will present a motion at the 10 a.m. hearing to suppress Mr. Chapman's alleged confession. Mr. Delaney said his client, who has pleaded not guilty, was not read his rights before he allegedly confessed to West Virginia sheriff's deputies, who apprehended him on the day of the killings.

The statement he gave police has not been released to the public, but is said to be long and rambling. The transcript is 77 typed pages.

Circuit Judge Jay Bamberger will have to schedule a suppression hearing in which West Virginia sheriff deputies will be called to testify.

Mr. Delaney is being assisted by Jim Gibson, who only handles death penalty cases for the public advocacy office in Frankfort.

Mrs. Marksberry lived next door to Mr. Chapman's ex-girlfriend. Neighbors say she was counseling the woman to leave an abusive relationship.

E-mail jhannah@enquirer .com

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