Tuesday, April 02, 2002

Suspect's trial begins in $1 death


Defendants face death row

By Janice Morse
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — The first of two suspects in a death-penalty case is set to go to trial before a three-judge panel in Butler County today.

        They are accused of killing a man after his ATM code didn't work.

        Derrick Bird, 21, of Middletown, is accused of aggravated murder and aggravated robbery in the May 2001 slaying of Marion Gilbert Emmett, 37.

        The trial is expected to last at least two days. Common Pleas judges H.J. Bressler, Patricia Oney and Matthew J. Crehan are to hear the case.

        Prosecutors say Mr. Bird and an accomplice, Brad Isbell, met Mr. Emmett in a bar.

        Mr. Emmett was robbed of $1 and a bank-machine card, prosecutors say, and beaten to death after he gave the robbers a code number that didn't activate the card.

        Mr. Emmett's body was left near the rear of the Middletown Historical Pioneer Cemetery on First Avenue.

        The supervisor of an inmate work crew spotted Mr. Emmett's partially clothed body in the cemetery.

        Mr. Emmett had suffered multiple broken ribs, which damaged his liver; he died of blunt force abdominal trauma, the Butler County Coroner's Office has said.

        According to previous court testimony, the men showed up at a Middletown woman's home and laughingly admitted what they had done.

        Mr. Isbell, 21, also of Middletown, is set for trial June 4-6.

        He, too, faces a possible death sentence if convicted of aggravated murder and aggravated robbery.

        In addition, he faces a charge of intimidation of a witness.

       



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