Oct 6, 2014 8:15 PM by Cecile Juliette
It's a case that took more than a decade to bring to trial. Monday, jury selection began in the murder trial of Marvin Markle Jr. The Biggs man is accused of shooting Shirley Pratt, 41, in 2001. The Oroville woman was found with a single gunshot wound to the head in the Oroville Wildlife area. Investigators with the Butte County Sheriff's Office say it appeared that she had been murdered in the same location as her body was found.
The say Markle had been a person-of-interest in Pratt's murder for some time, and the two had been friends. But they didn't have enough evidence to convince prosecutors with the Butte County District Attorney's Office to file charges.
The case has an unusual connection to a cold case murder in Vacaville. Investigators with the Vacaville Police Department say in 1982, De Anna Lynn Johnson, 14, was bludgeoned to death. Johnson's best friend never forgot what happened. Mary Borchers said she was convinced that Markle was responsible for Johnson's death. Borchers said Markle used to hang around Johnson's locker, and was also at the same party as Johnson the night she disappeared. Though Markle had been named a suspect by Vacaville Police, he had never been charged.
In 2011, Borchers began holding public rallies in Markle's neighborhood in Biggs where he had moved with his family. She created signs with pictures of Johnson and Pratt, and handed out fliers of the two women, detailing their cases. Apparently angered by the public spectacle, Markle spit on Borchers, and he was arrested for Felony Assault. She continued with the rallies and filed a restraining order against him. Later, he verbally threatened her, and was arrested for violating the restraining order. While in jail, investigators with the Butte County Sheriff's Office say another witness in the Pratt case who had been intimidated by Markle came forward, and a murder charge was filed against him in Butte County.
The trial is expected to last three weeks.