The preliminary hearing for a man charged with killing two people and shooting at multiple law enforcement officers last summer was postponed on Friday after a judge concluded that defense attorneys will need additional time to review more than 9,000 pages of evidence in the case.
Rodney Ericson Marshall, 52, of Lawrence, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder, five counts of attempted capital murder, and one count of attempted first-degree murder. He was arrested July 31, 2022, in connection with the fatal shooting of two men at separate locations in Lawrence, and shots fired at police officers during a chase through town and eastbound on Kansas Highway 10.
The first victim was Shelby Len McCoy, 52, who was shot at a home in the 1100 block of Tennessee Street just before 2 a.m. He was taken to the University of Kansas hospital in Kansas City, but he did not survive. William Dale O’Brien, 43, was shot just a few minutes later in the 300 block of Northwood Lane. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Details surrounding the shootings and how Marshall was identified as a suspect remain unclear. The probable cause affidavit — a sworn statement that outlines law enforcement’s justification for an arrest — was sealed by the court days after Marshall’s arrest.
Based on law enforcement statements, call logs and scanner traffic, police located Marshall in the 900 block of Lawrence Avenue later that morning and attempt to pull him over. Rather than stop, Marshall allegedly led officers on a pursuit through eastern Lawrence and onto K-10. Officers reported that the suspect fired shots out of his vehicle during the chase, which ended after Eudora police deployed spike strips on the highway.
Since his arrest 11 months ago, Marshall has been assigned three pairs of court-appointed attorneys who have either resigned or been fired by the defendant.
On Friday, Douglas County District Court Judge Amy Hanley addressed a motion handwritten by Marshall to remove his two most recent defense attorneys, Joshua Allen and Cline Boone, who were appointed to his case in February.
Allen told Hanley that he had met with Marshall on multiple occasions, and the two had decided that their attorney-client relationship was irreparable.
“The communication has broken down to a point where I can no longer zealously defend Mr. Marshall,” Allen said. “I believe Mr. Marshall would be better served by an attorney with a different approach to his defense.”
Boone told the judge that he had spoken with Marshall, and they had agreed to move forward with Boone’s continued representation.
“Mr. Boone has gone above and beyond to reconcile our differences,” Marshall said. “He’s made some promises I’m going to hold him to. I believe he is sincere.”
Hanley explained that a case of this magnitude commonly required two defense attorneys, and that the court would work to appoint a replacement for Allen. She acknowledged the frustration that delays bring in a case, but she said Marshall’s defense team needed adequate time to thoroughly comb through digital evidence that had been filed in the case.
“Defense needs to be prepared for a fair trial to be conducted,” Hanley said. “It is a marathon, not a sprint.”
She set a new preliminary hearing date for Friday, Aug. 25. At that time, Hanley will determine whether there is sufficient evidence to bind Marshall over for trial.
Marshall remains in custody on $1.5 million cash or surety bond. In order to be released from jail pending trial, he would have to pay a bondsman about $150,000.
All defendants in criminal cases should be presumed not guilty unless and until they are convicted.