Slain woman's spouse to testify at trial on couple's anniversary

Wednesday, May 13, 1998

The Cincinnati Enquirer

Norman Marks should have been celebrating his third wedding anniversary today.

Jury tour
Attorneys in the Rayshawn Johnson murder case gather outside the East Walnut Hills home that jurors visited Tuesday.
(Tony Jones photo)
| ZOOM |

But there will be no joy for Mr. Marks, who is scheduled to be among the first witnesses to testify today against the man accused of killing his wife.

Mr. Marks will tell jurors about finding his wife, 29-year-old Shanon Marks, on the bathroom floor when he returned from work about 8 p.m. Nov. 12. She had been attacked and brutally beaten in the head about 12 hours earlier -- just minutes after Mr. Marks left for work. Rayshawn Johnson, 20, is charged with aggravated murder and aggravated burglary in the beating death of Mrs. Marks.

Mr. Marks and the former Shanon Wise were married three years ago today in Bowling Green, Ohio, where they both attended college. They moved to Cincinnati when she got a job as a systems analyst at Procter & Gamble Co.

Prosecutors say Mr. Johnson had been watching Mrs. Marks from his house next door and knew that she was alone in the bathroom, getting ready for work.

Mr. Johnson, who described the attack in three taped statements to police, said he entered through an unlocked back door.

The jury of seven men and five women on Tuesday toured the restored Victorian home on Dexter Avenue in East Walnut Hills. The house has since been sold and is occupied.

R. Johnson
R. Johnson
While there, they retraced the steps of the man who allegedly killed Mrs. Marks. They entered through the back door, walked through the kitchen, up the rear staircase and into the bathroom.

They also were shown -- from inside and outside -- that Mr. Johnson lived just a few feet away, in a house that backs up to the one where Norman and Shanon Marks lived. Court officials also pointed out the garage at Mr. Johnson's house. He told police he climbed out the garage window, over a fence and into the back yard of the Marks house.

"They were shown the relativity of the two buildings to the back of Shanon's home and the bathroom window," Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph Deters said.

The bathroom window is visible from the third-floor attic, where Mr. Johnson stayed.

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