The state built it’s case against Gerald Marshall mainly on the self-serving statement of a co-defendant and “snitch” testimony, while significant evidence points towards another co-defendant as the perpetrator
According to HPD (Houston police department) no physical evidence was secured at the crime scene. Also the weapons that were used to commit the crime never were found.
After carefully reviewing the HPD file, we discovered that in the vehicle, which the robbers used, a “towel that appears to have blood on it” was discovered and taken into evidence. None of this evidence though was ever subjected to DNA testing. Though the potential blood on the towel most likely belonged to the victim and the towel could (still!) provide information about the person who shot the victim (by providing “touch”- DNA).
Compelling Evidence points towards another defendant as the perpetrator
Two employees of the Whataburger Restaurant (Wilbert Marsh and Tony Ketchum) had a brief look on the robber, who forced his way into the Restaurant via the drive-through window. Though the robber wore a bandana over his nose and mouth, both witnesses congruently stated when questioned by police after the crime, that the robber held the victim (Christopher Dean) with his right hand and had a shiny gun in his left hand (indicating that he was left-handed). He was also described as dark colored and slim built. This description fits Ronald Worthy much more than Gerald. In contrast, Gerald Marshall is light-skinned, right-handed and broad built.
Both witnesses immediately ran and hid, not being able to see what was going on during the robbery/murder.
The crime stoppers tip
Not long after the crime an anonymous ‘crime stoppers’ tip gave the following information:
Police should look in the Greenspoint area of Houston and look for “Bo” and “Tank”.
“Bo” was the killer. They also gave “Bo’s” address in Northborough. It was further said that “Bo” admitted to the anonymous caller, that he had murdered Dean, since he would “not open the safe”. The informant stated that “Bo” had said that the shooting was “an accident” because the victim had been moving too slowly in response to his demands. According to the informant “Bo” allegedly stated that he had told Dean twice to open the safe before shooting him.
The information was deemed credible by the police, especially since the details about the murder coincided with the statements the witness Marsh had made about the robber demanding the key to the safe twice. HPD though never made any attempt to identify or locate the informant.
In another anonymous call HPD received the address of “Bo” and the supposed name: Samuel Robinson. The address provided though was the address of Ronald Worthy, who also went by the nickname of “Bo”.
A crucial witness does not identify Gerald Marshall
“Tank” later was identified as Gerald Marshall by police. The Police then produced photo spreads with photos of Samuel Robinson and Gerald Marshall and presented it to the witness Marsh. Marsh immediately picked out Samuel Robinson instead of Gerald Marshall.
Later police learned that Samuel Robinson had nothing to do with the crime, but resembled Ronald Worthy.
According to a cellmate, whom the state used as a witness in their trial against Co-defendant Worthy, Ronald Worthy later also admitted, that he had been inside the Whataburger during the robbery attempt. A fact Gerald’s defense attorneys never brought to the attention of the jury.
This is particularly relevant because in Gerald’s trial the state presented the theory, that only one robber entered the Whataburger.
The police took Ronald Worthy out of county jail in an attempt to find the weapons.
The “wild goose chase” Worthy had taken the police on soon would uncover more crucial information.
From the HPD file:
“Ronald Worthy would tell us many lies on the night of may 14, 2003. He would take investigators on a wild goose chase looking for evidence in this murder. He would also be allowed on several occasions to use my personal cellular phone [!] so that he could call his family members […] We would learn that [Worthy’s] girlfriend had destroyed evidence by throwing bloody clothing into a waste management dumpster at his direction.”
Though the police never followed up on this lead, never confronted Worthy or his girlfriend on these issues.
It is important to note that HPD found no blood or gun powder residue on clothing, that they could retrieve from Gerald.
Worthy later disclosed, that about two hours after the Whataburger incident the three defendants had driven to a Shipley’s donut for another robbery. In a surveillance video Gerald can be seen committing the robbery (notably nobody got hurt during this offense). It is important to mention that in this video there is no visible evidence of blood on Gerald’s clothing.
Having no physical evidence from the crime scene, not having followed up on the fate of the guns or the clothing or the physical evidence from the vehicle, the prosecution relied their case entirely on three inherently unreliable witnesses to pursue a conviction of Gerald Marsha