Thompson-Marshall convicted of Murder
For Immediate Release: April 21, 2017
On the evening of April 20, an Alexandria jury returned two guilty verdicts against Paula Thompson-Marshall, a 48-year old resident of the City of Alexandria. The defendant was convicted of murder in the second degree and use of a firearm in the commission of murder with regards to the shooting death of her husband, Rolf Marshall, in the living room of their home.
The evidence adduced at trial established that at about 10:45 a.m. on October 5, 2016, the defendant engaged in an argument with her husband over whether their elderly dog should be euthanized. The defendant brandished a .38 caliber revolver during the argument and shot her husband as he sat in his favorite easy chair, his body turned away from the defendant in a defensive posture. Mr. Marshall was struck once in the torso, and the bullet damaged several internal organs and blood vessels, resulting in his death.
The defendant called police and told them that the shooting was “accidental,” a defense that was disregarded by the jury.
After convicting the defendant of the two felony counts, the jury deliberated on the appropriate sentence and recommended that the defendant serve 11 years for murder and 3 years for use of a firearm in the commission of murder, for a total sentence of 14 years to serve in the penitentiary.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan Porter and Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Sean Sherlock tried the case. The matter was investigated by Detective William Oakley of the Alexandria Police Department.
In his sentencing argument, Porter said:
“When two people get married, they make vows to one another: to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health to love and to cherish till death do us part.”
“Death – at the defendant’s own hand – did them part. She kept that vow.”
“But the rest of her vows were empty promises no more tangible than the breath she drew to speak them. When Rolf got sick, it was inconvenient for the defendant. When Rolf was poor, the defendant accused him of “ruining her financially.” When the days together grew worse, not better, she longed to, as she put it, “no longer be encumbered” by her older husband.”
“I know that people break their wedding vows all the time, ladies and gentlemen. But is usually leads to divorce – not to the smoke of a fired .38 revolver filling a living a room and a man bleeding onto his favorite chair.”
After the trial, Porter said: “I wish to thank the jurors for their time and attention during an emotionally charged and lengthy trial. The job of a juror is difficult, and it is exponentially more so in a murder trial. The care and thought these jurors brought to this case was exceptional and should be commended.”
The formal sentencing hearing was set for July 13, 2017. The defendant is being held in the Alexandria Adult Detention Center.