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Guy Gordon Marsh was released from prison in 1987, after serving fourteen years of a life sentence for murder and robbery. His conviction was overturned after the only two witnesses against Marsh recanted their testimony, both claiming they were coerced and threatened by a police detective to finger Marsh.
On June 28, 1971, a man robbed a 7-Eleven store in Glen Burnie, Maryland. Charles R. Erdman, a customer at the store, was murdered while attempting to stop the robbery. Two witnesses, Linda Packech and William Harry McFadden Jr., identified Guy Gordon Marsh as the killer. On the basis of their testimonies, Marsh was convicted and sentenced to life in prison plus ten years, to be served consecutively.
In April 1987, both witnesses admitted to lying under oath. Packech and McFadden stated that Detective George S. Romine, who had investigated Erdman’s murder, pressured them to implicate Marsh. It was further revealed that Packech, a heroin addict, was in jail on shoplifting charges when the crime occurred and therefore could not have witnessed anything.
The following month, Circuit Court Judge Bruce C. Williams overturned Marsh’s murder conviction and freed him pending a new trial. After a police reinvestigation of the crime, the state dropped charges against Marsh.
In 1990, Marsh filed a $200 million lawsuit against the state, the county, the prosecutor, the chief of police, and the estate of George Romine for coercing perjured testimony against him from two witnesses. All the parties were dismissed from the lawsuit except for the estate of George Romine. The claims against Romine were heard by a jury in 1991 but Marsh lost the case and was not awarded any compensation.
Marsh sought a pardon but was considered ineligible because of a conviction for a separate crime after his release from prison.
- Researched by Laura Loeck
The National Registry of Exonerations is a project of the Newkirk Center for Science & Society at University of California Irvine, the University of Michigan Law School and Michigan State University College of Law. It was founded in 2012 in conjunction with the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law. The Registry provides detailed information about every known exoneration in the United States since 1989—cases in which a person was wrongly convicted of a crime and later cleared of all the charges based on new evidence of innocence. The Registry also maintains a more limited database of known exonerations prior to 1989.
We welcome new information from any source about exonerations already on our list and about cases not in the Registry that might be exonerations.