Man who did time after witness lied is held in rape case


WESTMINSTER -- Guy Gordon Marsh, who spent 14 years in prison on murder charges because a key witness lied at his trial, surrendered yesterday on rape charges and was back in jail after four years of freedom.

A court commissioner ordered Mr. Marsh, 44, of the 1300 block of Buckhorn Road in Sykesville held in lieu of $100,000 bail at the Carroll County Detention Center, where he remained yesterday evening.

Mr. Marsh arranged to surrender at the state police barracks in Westminster yesterday after an arrest warrant was issued Friday, accusing him of two rapes last August involving a 13-year-old who was baby-sitting his infant daughter.

The charges include two counts each of statutory rape and committing a second-degree sexual offense, all punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Mr. Marsh also was charged with third-degree sexual offense, punishable by up to 10 years, two misdemeanor charges of assault and battery, and one charge of displaying obscene material.

Chuck Jackson, a state police spokesman, said the charges are based upon two attacks upon the 13-year-old Sykesville girl while she was baby-sitting at Mr. Marsh's home in Carroll County.

"I think it would be premature to make a statement at the present time, but as the facts are developed, we're confident that Gordy will be vindicated of all charges," said Frederic C. Heyman, Mr. Marsh's attorney,

Mr. Marsh received local and then national attention, appearing on television talk shows, after his release from prison May 8, 1987.

He had been sentenced to life for the murder of Charles R. Erdman, who was shot when he interrupted a robbery of a Glen Burnie 7-Eleven by two men wearing masks on June 28, 1971. Charges against a second man were dropped before the trial, because he was said to be at work at the time. But Mr. Marsh was convicted of murder and remained in the state prison system until a former girlfriend began a dogged investigation of his case.

She discovered that the supposed eyewitness was in fact serving a 60-day sentence for shoplifting when she said she saw Mr. Marsh at the 7-Eleven.

Mr. Marsh was granted a new trial, but in October 1987 Anne Arundel County prosecutors decided they didn't have enough evidence to convict him again. The witness who lied, Linda Ruth Packech, received a three-year prison sentence for perjury -- despite a plea for mercy by Mr. Marsh.

"I feel she was used by the state of Maryland to give false testimony," Mr. Marsh said.

A civil suit for damages filed by Mr. Marsh after his release is scheduled for trial in U.S. District Court in Baltimore in November, Mr. Heyman said.

A bail review hearing on the rape charges is scheduled at 1:30 p.m. today in Carroll County Circuit Court.

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