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Monday, June 16, 2003  

Whatever happened to. . .?

*Ray Brent Marsh

The young owner of a crematory in Georgia became national news when more than 300 bodies was found on the property where the facility was located last year.

The younger Marsh is under house arrest, charged with 338 counts of theft by deception and 64 counts of abuse of a corpse after 334 bodies were found buried and strewn about the Tri-State property in February and March of 2002. Marsh's case is scheduled to go before a Walker grand jury June 3.

. . .The civil trial is set to begin Oct. 6 in the federal courthouse in Rome.

The Marshes were last in the news because of the death of Brent Marsh's father, Tommy Ray Marsh, in May, of cardiac arrest.

Though forensic research continues, the identities of many of the remains were never determined.

Out of the 334 bodies found, 108 remain unidentified. By the end of the month, those bodies are to be buried in a donated cemetery plot. The grave markers will have numbers, not names, as identifiers.

Mourning the 108 unidentified bodies are several hundred families that used Tri-State Crematory over the past decade.

No reason has been given for why the bodies were left uncremated. Tests of Tri-State's oven revealed it was functional.

*Richard Jewell

The man wrongly accused of a terrorist attack at the Summer Olympics in 1996, Richard Jewell, is not satisfied with the mere arrest of suspect Eric Robert Rudolph recently, according to his spokesman.

ATLANTA - The attorney for  Richard Jewell, who was investigated in the 1996 Olympic bombing and named by a newspaper as a suspect, said the only thing that will ease his client's mind is the conviction of the real bomber.

"The arrest of  Eric Rudolph does nothing to change the injustice suffered by Richard Jewell," attorney Lin Wood said Saturday. "It will be interesting now to be able to see the government's evidence against Mr. Rudolph in connection to the Centennial Park bombing."

Jewell is now a small town cop somewhere in Georgia.

He was considered a hero for helping evacuate the park just before the bomb went off, but three days later The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the FBI was investigating him.

Jewell was cleared by the FBI three months later and eventually filed a civil suit against the newspaper that is still pending.

Rudolph faces trial in the bombing and other violent acts.

*The Chukwu octuplets

The children, born in December of 1998 are now pre-schoolers who reside in League City, Texas. Each child weighed about a pound at birth. (One sibling did not survive.)

The babies, born at St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital in Houston to Nkem Chukwu and husband Ikye Louis Udobi, were the world's first live-born set of octuplets.

The Chukwu's also have a younger child, now two.

*Andrea Yates

Legal appeals for Andrea Yates,' who was convicted in the drowning deaths of her five children two years ago, will attack Texas criminal law front and center.

Harris County prosecutors used the death penalty to pre-select jurors less likely to accept an insanity defense, stacking the deck against Andrea Pia Yates, her attorneys will allege in their appeal.

By seeking the death penalty, prosecutors were able to disqualify jurors opposing execution -- those that Yates' attorneys say were most likely to be sympathetic to an insanity defense. They don't expect the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to think much of that reasoning, but they hope the U.S. Supreme Court might.

Her attorneys argue the prosecution sought the death penalty not because it believed Yates should be executed, but to prevent more sympathetic members of the pool from which the jury would be selected from making the cut. They assert that if a jury must be death qualified, then the persons most likely to be sympathetic to an insanity defense will be eliminated. The linchpin for their argument is that Texas law requires there be a risk of future danger from a defendant to seek the death penalty. They say there was never any such evidence in regard to Yates, so the death penalty gambit was a pretext.

Prosecutors say that Yates' crime, absent any criminal history, was heinous enough to be evidence of future danger.

Harris County District Attorney Chuck Rosenthal dismissed Parnham's and Odom's allegations, saying they are "grasping at straws."

Expert psychiatric witness, Dr. Park Dietz, who presented important testimony at the trial, is also a focus of the defense's appeal. They contend Dietz mislead jurors by claiming Yates imitated a crime from a television program that never existed and using evidence from a competency hearing that should have been excluded. It wasn't discovered that the television show didn't exist until after the trial, so jurors may have partly relied on the false assertion in reaching their decision.

Today Yates dwells in an isolated cell 23 hours a day at the state prison system's Skyview psychiatric unit in the east Texas town of Rusk. She is receiving expert mental health care, said her attorney, George Parnham, albeit within the confines of the prison system's overriding priority -- security.

Yates was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole after 40 years.


Did towns like that actually exist in the South? Or, was the truth more complex? Consider whether white men from Georgia are the best of sources about the history of the state and race relations there at Silver Rights.

10:45 PM