Oct 18, 2014 5:40 PM
More than thirteen years after her body was found along a dirt road in the Oroville Wildlife Area, Shirley Pratt has justice. After nearly two full days of deliberations, a jury found Marvin Markle, 49, guilty of 1st Degree Murder.
Friday afternoon, family members of both Markle and Pratt were called in to courtroom #7 to hear the verdict. There were gasps as sighs of relief as the verdict was read.
Nicole Miller, Pratt's niece declined an interview, but said that she was relieved the jury found Markle guilty, and was glad he wouldn't be able to hurt anyone else.
Markle's attorney declined comment.
On October 12, 2001, Pratt's body was found with a bullet wound to the bridge of her nose, her head resting on her neatly-folded jacket. Investigators said it did not appear she had any obvious defense wounds. Prosecutors said they believed the motive was a sexual act gone wrong. A substance that investigators believed was semen on her body was tested, and did not rule Markle out, though that was not presented as evidence to the jury.
Three witnesses, including an Oroville Police Officer testified that Markle admitted to them he killed "two girls."
Investigators with the Vacaville Police Department closely watched this case. Markle is the suspect in the cold case killing of De Anna Lynn Johnson, 14, in 1982. Johnson's elderly mother in Arizona was informed by telephone of the Pratt verdict moments after it was read.
Sentencing is set for November 19. According to the Butte County District Attorney's Office, Markle faces 80 years to life in prison.
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