Philip Marshall 911 – No Clear Evidence Against Him
When officers arrived at the Marshall home they found Philip Marshall lying face-up with a close-range gunshot wound on the right-side of his head. Police claim the gun was “inverted (upside-down).” Marshall was found face-up near the couch, where his deceased children “appeared to be sleeping” under blankets on a “U-shaped sectional couch.” The gun was found with a bullet in the chamber, with an empty magazine. In Marshall’s bedroom closet, police found a 50-round box of Fiocchi ammunition, with 43 unused bullets. Three expended casings were found in the living room near Marshall and his children. One expended casing was found in the master bedroom near the dog. A fifth unexpended bullet was found on the laundry room floor. So six bullets are accounted for, with one round missing, from the 50-round box of ammunition. The box of ammo was found on a shelf on top of an open safe. “Outside the safe, where they found the box of Fiocchi ammunition, they also found a wedding ring resting on top of the Fiocchi box.”
According to the new media release by the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Department, there were no signs of forced entry into the Marshall home. All the doors were closed but some were unlocked. “It did not appear that the house or any of the furniture had been ransacked.”
Police are relying on directional blood spatter to help prove their allegations against Philip Marshall, “blood cast-off from his head was found on and around his body.”
Many people might find it strange that the Glock 9mm handgun was found underneath Marshall. “Marshall was found lying on his back in the living room behind the sectional couch. The gun was located under his right side midsection.” The muzzle impression left on Philip Marshall’s skin helped determine the proximity of the gun to Marshall’s head and the angle of the muzzle.
Based on how they found the gun impression on Marshall’s head and “the lack of voids and blood disruptions,” investigators concluded “no disruptions or voids were found in the high and low velocity blood spatter patterns”, and this proves to them there was no fourth person involved in this incident.
Apparently, Marshall held the gun upside-down. So far, the only finger prints lab analysts found were of Marshall’s left thumb and index finger located on the slide of the gun. Also known as “racking the slide,” this only proves Marshall cocked the gun. They could not positively identify Marshall’s finger prints on the trigger of the Glock 9mm.
A Fiocchi (brand) Glock 9 millimeter handgun is the alleged weapon used by Philip Marshall. “In October 2011 Marshall purchased the Glock 9mm handgun from a gun store in Turlock, CA. The gun was registered to him.” On January 27, 2013 Marshall is videotaped purchasing ammunition from a Big 5 Sporting Goods store in Sonora, California. Police believe Marshall was wearing the same clothing on January 27 as he was when found on February 2, 2013. He “paid cash” for the ammunition and police found a receipt for the purchase inside of Marshall’s car. I wonder if that was the same car three independent investigators saw in front of Philip Marshall’s home on March 9, 2013?
The Calaveras County Sheriff’s Department believes Philip Marshall’s gun was upside-down when he shot himself on the right-side of the head. “Phillip Marshall suffered a “point blank” gunshot wound to the right side of his head. Investigators determined the firearm was being held upside down as indicated by the muzzle impression found on Phillip’s head. The blood spatter and a lack of displacement or disruption found at the scene proved to Investigators that no other persons were in close enough proximity to have shot Phillip Marshall.”
The department also mentions that ballistics tests are still forthcoming according to the latest media release. “The Glock handgun was sent to the California Department of Justice crimelab for fingerprint analysis, and is scheduled for DNA and ballistics examination (results pending on the DNA and ballistics). The fingerprint analysis positively identified Phillip Marshall’s fingerprints on the interior plastic carton of the ammunition box and the gun magazine. In regards to prints on the gun, DOJ lab analysts explained, “The only usable friction ridge impressions remaining in this case were two patent impressions appearing on [the] Glock 19 handgun. These patent impressions were visible on the slide area of the handgun upon the initial examination.” The placement of the “patent impressions” is very important. They are visible on the “slide area.”
“Subject Phillip Randolph Marshall could not be eliminated as the source of these two patent impressions due to similarities in ridge flow and ridge characteristics in agreement with his left thumb and left index finger.” The report specifically mentions Marshall’s left thumb and left index finger.
Now here comes the lack of evidence. There is no “sufficient quality and quantity of friction detail for identification purposes.” In other words, they cannot positively state that Philip Marshall’s finger prints were found on the weapon, except for the left thumb and left index finger. There’s proof he cocked the gun, but no proof he shot it. Ballistics tests are still forthcoming, along with a DNA examination. As of today, the Department of Justice’s results and possible conclusions are still “pending.” This is more reason to prove a quick and incomplete conclusion presented by the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Department.
“The patent impressions lack sufficient quality and quantity of friction ridge detail for identification purposes, but are usable for elimination purposes. Subject Phillip Randolph Marshall could not be eliminated as the source of these two patent impressions due to similarities in ridge flow and ridge characteristics in agreement with his left thumb and left index finger.” The report specifically mentions Marshall’s “left thumb and left index finger.”
Then they explain how one could shoot themself with the gun pointed upside-down. The investigators also claim it’s normal for someone to shoot themself this way. “The inverted positioning of the handgun is a natural body/arm posture of someone shooting themselves, and is consistent with him having shot himself.”
The investigators determined it was possible for the children to be shot within two seconds, within a few feet from of each other, without one of them waking up. They also believe that four gunshots would be muffled inside the house, and that’s why neighbors didn’t report hearing any gunfire. The closest neighbors live about fifty feet away from the Marshall residence. Police performed tests inside Philip Marshall’s house to see if one neighbor would be able to hear gunfire from next door. The unidentified neighbor did hear the gun shots, but didn’t think the noise would be loud enough to wake him if sleeping. “The neighbor went on to say that despite the fact that the neighbor is a “very light sleeper”, the neighbor would not have been awakened by the noise.”
Nothing is mentioned about the “suspicious noise” one neighbor heard. The neighbor, Jeff Woods, heard something strange twice in the same night, but didn’t specify if the noises sounded like gun shots. According to Joel Metzger’s article, Woods was in a downstairs room with the television on “in the background when I heard an unusual noise. I stopped working and went upstairs, turned the lights on and looked around. I didn’t hear anything else, so I went back downstairs. Not too long after that, I heard another strange noise. I muted the television and listened for a second without hearing anything else.”
Macaila Marshall (daughter, 14 yrs. old) – “Blood samples taken during the autopsies were sent to a toxicology lab for toxicology analysis. The results showed that Macaila had a .05% blood alcohol content and .32 mg/L of diphenhydramine (an over the counter antihistamine/sleep aid).”
Alex Marshall (son, 17 yrs. old) – “Alex had a blood alcohol content of .03%.”
Philip Marshall – “Phillip Marshal’s blood sample contained .08 mg/L hydrocodone (pain reliever/narcotic), .02 mg/L morphine (pain reliever/narcotic), and .80 mg/L hydroxybupropion (anti-depressant). Alcoholic beverages, including a bottle of whiskey and an open l2-pack of beer, were found inside the Marshall home.”
Last Known Contact
Philip Marshall is last seen on January 31, 2012. “Alex’s last documented communication was by instant messaging (cell phone) on January 31, 2013 at 10:40 PM.” “Macaila’s last documented communication, via cellular phone, was on January 31,2013 at 10:10 PM. She took a cell phone self-portrait at 10:55 PM.”
The Release Is A White-Wash
On page one of the six-page media release, the police go into details about (sister to Philip Marshall’s wife Sean) Erin Chamberlain’s allegations against Philip Marshall during late 2008 and early 2009. How this relates to the incident that happened about three years later is unclear to me. Are the police trying to convince me of a certain motive without actually doing their job and establishing a clear motive as to why Marshall would murder his teenage children, his dog and then kill himself? Most of the incidents reported are from Erin, not Sean Marshall. The bias against Philip Marshall is clear as the police do not even mention Philip Marshall’s incident a month before the alleged “physical altercation” with Erin Chamberlain. In that incident, Mr. Marshall tried to have Sean arrested for breaking into his home at Forest Meadows. Marshall accused Sean of stealing Kadian pills from the house. “In November 2008, Philip Marshall hid in the shower of his house with a video camera as Sean entered the home and allegedly stole a bottle of six 20-milligram pills of Kadian; a very strong opioid.” It was right around this time that all of the other allegations against Philip Marshall were reported to police. Why was there no mention of this incident in the third media release while there was an extensive detailed account of the allegations against Philip Marshall?
In fact, in the entire list of police involvement during late 2008 to early 2009, there is only one mention of Sean Marshall reporting anything. “December 7, 2008: Sean Marshall reported that Phillip violated the emergency protection order.” After reading the twelve reports mentioned, I’m left with a strange feeling that the police are trying to mold a motive out of circumstantial hearsay. I wonder why they will admit they have no motive to a crime they believe is solved? Do they have the evidence to convict Philip Marshall of a double-murder suicide in a court of law?
From January 2009 to February 2, 2013, when police arrive and find the deceased, there appears to be no further police involvement with the Marshall family. “January 2, 2009: Civil standby requested by Phillip to pick up Alex from Sean. Requested that deputy call Sean and tell her to “turn kids over without a problem.” So what was so special about 2008-2009? “Sean Marshall initiated divorce proceedings against Phillip Marshall in 2008. She withdrew the request in 2009. In October 2012, she reinstituted the divorce process, at which time Phillip Marshall moved back to his house in Forest Meadows.” There was a divorce hearing set for February 25, 2013.
The police explain Marshall’s financial situation, based on documents they found on the kitchen counter. “These documents included a list of financial debt he owed, dated 02/01/13 and totaled $67k, as well as child support-related documents and information.”
Marshall wrote in a spiral notebook, “Debt Kill”. Wayne Madsen reported that Marshall’s house payments were up-to-date and the police do not mention the I.R.S. So can I assume that the financial debt the police are talking about could be settled by filing bankruptcy? “A handwritten note was found inside of a spiral binder noting the debt amount and a handwritten comment stating, “Debt Kill”.
What They Removed From The House
Authorities confiscated a laptop and a desktop computer and sent them to the High-Tech Task Force in Sacramento for forensic analysis. The results are still pending. “The computers, described as a desktop and a laptop, were seized by detectives during the search of the home and sent to the law enforcement High-Tech Task Force in Sacramento for forensic analysis. The results of the analysis are pending.”
It’s possible the police removed the bloody couch from the house to perform some type of tests in a crime lab, but they never state if they removed anything from the Marshall residence. The police returned to the scene of the crime recently to recreate how Alex and Macaila were killed. This leads us back the mysterious cleaning crew that Wayne Madsen has talked about. Madsen reports a local professional cleaning service was at the Marshall house on Super Bowl Sunday, February 3, and spent a couple of days cleaning the Marshall residence (which was also a crime scene at the time).
Still No Motive
I suppose the only motive the police have is that Philip Marshall was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder. They believe Marshall suffered from some kind of mental illness and point to his prescription narcotic pain medications as evidence. “According to records obtained, Marshall was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder. Additionally, the reports stated that he suffered periods of depression and mania, which led to his dismissal, or “grounding,” as a pilot in September 2006.”
Detectives also shared some of Philip Marshall’s medical records. “His medical records suggested that he also suffered from some sort of mental illness, drug dependency, anxiety, and depression. He was prescribed anti-depression medications for his mental health. During mid-year 2012 through January 2013 he frequented the medical clinic seeking additional pain medications.”
The media release states that Philip Marshall was “under the care of a doctor for several years” and speculates on mental health issues Marshall allegedly had. Yet this was not enough evidence for police to come up with a clear motive for the allegations of a double-murder suicide. It’s unclear if the detectives talked to Marshall’s doctor, but they did consult a doctor about what might happen if Marshall combined anti-depressants with prescribed narcotics. The police even source the FDA‘s research for the sudden outburst that led to the alleged double-murder suicide. The Food and Drug Administration, which has not been friendly towards natural medicines, agrees that changes in psychotropic medications “could result in suicide, hostility, or psychosis.” This hasn’t stopped the approval psychotropic medications.
Here is the final conclusion of the investigators in charge of solving this crime. Yet, in my opinion, from the beginning of this case, investigators have only sought to prove their theory, not to find the truth.
“There was no evidence to support a theory that anyone else could have committed this crime, or that any other persons were present at the time of the shootings. Macaila and Alex Marshall both appeared to be sleeping at the time they were shot, indicating no signs of a struggle with a possible intruder. There was no evidence of a struggle with Phillip Marshall, and no signs of forced entry into the home. Various items of value were still present inside the home, and no evidence of any additional weapons was found. Lastly, there was no evidence that Phillip Marshall or his children were moved or repositioned after the shooting, which would indicate an altered crime scene. Based on the final findings of the investigators, evidence shows that Philip Marshall, and not an outside fourth person, shot and killed Macaila, Alex, the family dog, and then himself. To conclude, it is determined that this case was a double murder-suicide.”
There is plenty of evidence to suspect that a fourth party was involved, in my opinion. This is mainly due to the lack of evidence against Philip Marshall. If the police cannot conclusively prove their own theory, why should they rule out all other theories? No matter how crazy those theories may sound to investigators, it is their responsibility to find the truth and bring justice to this tragedy. It is not their job to assume within hours that Marshall is guilty of a double-murder suicide, and then search for evidence to prove their theory; which is based on circumstantial evidence with no clear motive. Ballistics tests and DNA tests are expected shortly, but it doesn’t seem to matter for those who have concluded Philip Marshall is guilty of a double-murder suicide. Am I the only one who believes the authorities are ignoring the possibility of foul-play? I doubt it. We will have to ask Sheriff Gary Kuntz for an interview to explain the actions of his officers. To secure an interview, we may need a resident living in Calaveras County, California.
Their reasons for ruling out foul-play are very weak. Police cannot prove that Marshall fired the Glock 9mm, and the only finger prints they have of Marshall do not conclusively prove anything. The tests only concluded that Philip Marshall could not be ruled out as the one who shot the gun. This does not mean he fired the gun. The finger prints found on the gun were not on the trigger, but the slider; which is used to cock the gun. A bullet was found in the chamber of the Glock, but the magazine was empty.
The police finding “no evidence of a struggle” or “forced entry” does not mean Philip Marshall is guilty of murdering his two children. The police have already admitted that more than one door of the house was unlocked. So there is little need to look for forced entry when you already have established a means of entry without force. Isn’t it possible a fourth party simply walked in through one of the unlocked doors? Video of the Marshall house shows how many doors there are in the 2-3 story home. There are quite a few.
The prepared media release by Sgt. Chris Hewitt concludes by stating they base their entire theory of a double-murder suicide “on the final findings of the investigators.” The final findings match the initial findings and their conclusion within hours of finding the bodies in the Marshall home. If the purpose of this lengthy media release by Sgt. Chris Hewitt was to put conspiracy theories to rest, then in my opinion you have failed sir. Perhaps you should wait until ballistics test results are in your hands before you conclude anything. Do you seriously believe you could convict Philip Marshall of a double-murder suicide in a court of law, based on the evidence in the possession of your department? I challenge you to do so. I believe a jury will find Philip Marshall innocent based on your lack of evidence. As always, the truth resides in the court of public opinion.