Legally Weird - The FindLaw Legal Curiosities Blog

Florida Man Shoots Neighbor, Drives Dead Body to Lawyer's Office, Doesn't Get Indicted

Normally, if you show up on your attorney's doorstep with a dead body, things aren't going to turn out well. But they didn't end up too badly for Bokeelia resident John Marshall, who delivered the corpse of his neighbor, whom he had just shot and killed, to the Harris Law Firm in Fort Meyers, Florida in the back of his pickup truck.

A grand jury declined to indict Marshall, finding no evidence that he committed a crime.

Insufficient Evidence

According to Marshall, who'd had previous run-ins with Theodore Hubbell about building on a lot near his home, his neighbor threatened him with a gun, but he was able to wrestle it away and shot Hubbell in self defense. And according to his lawyer, Robert Harris, Marshall was disheveled when he arrived with the dead body back in 2015, sporting a broken tooth and two possibly broken thumbs. "It's the cleanest-cut case of self-defense I've ever seen," Harris remarked at the time.

And the grand jury apparently agreed. "There are no eyewitnesses to the shooting," the grand jury said in its statement of findings, "and the evidence available to this grand jury is insufficient to rebut John Marshall's claim of justifiable self-defense." Without the indictment, prosecutors can't charge Marshall with a crime.

Attorney-Client Privileges

All things considered, whether Marshall shot Hubbell in self defense or in cold blood, the decision to put the corpse in the bed of his Honda Ridgeline pickup, cover it with a tarp, and drive it downtown seems odd. But Marshall had established a prior relationship the Harris Law Firm: the firm was representing Marshall in a prior aggravated battery case, and Marshall had called the law office days before the incident, claiming Hubbell had threatened him and he felt unsafe. Attorneys at the time advised Marshall to get a restraining order.

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