RALEIGH — Patricia Lovick gasped yes from the courtroom gallery Friday afternoon as a Wake County clerk read guilty verdicts from the home invasion trial she had been monitoring for more than a week.
Jahaad Tariem Allah Marshall, 27, a Wake County man who had made Lovick fear for her life, had just been convicted of 22 charges in a series of violent crimes including first-degree burglary, robbery with a dangerous weapon, first-degree kidnapping, attempted first-degree rape, first-degree sexual offense and attempted murder.
The convictions stemmed from a string of burglaries and home invasions that occurred in late 2012 and early 2013. For Lovick and others who awoke to nights of terror, the verdicts brought a sense of relief and faith in the justice system.
Lovick and her husband had been abruptly awakened inside their Sherry Drive home in Raleigh between 3 and 4 a.m. on Dec. 30, 2012 a scene that forever changed their sense of security.
Two masked intruders pushed them around their home brandishing weapons forcing them to open a safe, then handcuffing them to the rail of a bed.
The jury concluded that Marshall, who testified in his own defense against the advice of his lawyer, was one of the intruders and convicted him of kidnapping, burglary, assault and other charges related to that night.
We knew he was guilty, but when you actually hear it, its a joyful day, Lovick said Friday after the verdict. We can finally put this to rest.
Marshall told the jury of seven men and five women on Wednesday that he did not commit the burglary on Sherry Drive. He said he drove the getaway car a week later on Jan. 6 and 7, 2013, to and from a separate home invasion on Lane Street that left a man paralyzed and a woman a victim of sexual assault.
Marshall contended that a shadowy character, known to him only as B.J. or Bryan, had accompanied Marshall and his younger brother on a crime spree that became more violent than intended.
But the jury did not buy his account and asked Judge Henry Hight, who presided over the trial, whether there was anything a defense attorney could do to stop a defendant from testifying as Marshall had.
Hight explained that some conversations about that had occurred while the jury was not in the courtroom. But, he added, every defendant has a right to testify in his own defense.
At least 263 years
Marshall, who was sentenced to a minimum of 263 years in prison, offered apologies before Hight added up a string of sentences that essentially equate to a lifetime of incarceration.
I just want to apologize for everything, Marshall said. Everything. I wish none of this would have ever happened. Thats it, your honor.
Hight told Marshall the offenses showed an escalation of violence over time.
Shabar Marshall, the younger brother and 17-year-old accomplice of Jahaad Marshall, was in the Wake County courtroom for a few minutes Friday.
Shabar Marshall has pleaded guilty to most of the allegations that he and his brother were accused of when police arrested them in January 2013. The judge was waiting to sentence him until after Jahaad Marshalls trial.
Sentencing for the younger Marshall now has been tentatively set for Monday morning, but that could change if Hight is presiding over civil court then.
A terrifying experience
This case was a terrifying experience for everyone that was involved in it, Assistant Wake County District Attorney Boz Zellinger said after the sentencing. It shook the city to its core.
Lovick and jurors hung around the courtroom after the verdict, talking with the lawyers and judge.
Lovick said she was glad to see the bailiffs usher Jahaad Marshall out of the courtroom to a life of imprisonment.
He was just such a menace, Lovick said. He needs to be off the streets.
Blythe: 919-836-4948; Twitter: @AnneBlythe1