Blurting witness muddles Hickman trial
The conspiracy of silence that hampered the investigation of the 2004 murder of once-wealthy teen mother who died in a trailer park has become even more muddled as the star witness blurted out a new version of events that threatens to crush the credibility of that witness, according to information in a new report in the Daily Progress.
In today's Progress, reporter Liesel Nowak, who has been covering the four-day trial, reports that jurors were unable to reach a decision about the murder of 18-year-old Azlee Keller Hickman– despite nearly seven hours of deliberation on the fate of William Franklin “Billy” Marshall Jr.
Marshall was one of three people in the Carlton Avenue trailer on the night of the killing, and various legal theories suggest that he, roommate Ronald Powell, and Powell's then 17-year-old daughter, Heather, left the trailer after the killing and then returned to feign surprise at finding the young mom dead in the room she shared with her baby.
"Everyone in the case lied," Nowak quotes Commonwealth's Atttorney Dave Chapman. Last week's shocker was Ronald Powell's testimony that "he saw Marshall’s hands on Hickman’s throat and that Marshall threatened him with a knife inside the trailer." The revelation has Marshall's lawyer pointing the finger at Powell, the father of Hickman's six-month old baby, who, the lawyer alleges, had a stronger tie and motive than Marshall to kill the teen, who, relatives told the Hook last year, had had planned to move out of the trailer one day after her death.
Update 03/06/06: The Progress reports today that the deadlocked jury has resulted in a mistrial. No word yet on whether a retrial will be planned– or against whom.