Trial underway in 1990 death of Grand Rapids man

LEFT: A mug shot of Aurelias Marshall. RIGHT: An undated courtesy photo of Joel Battaglia.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP/WOOD) — Twenty-five years later, a trial has opened in the death of a young man who was killed while walking home from a Grand Rapids bar.

Aurelias Marshall is charged with open murder in the beating death of Joel Battaglia during a 1990 robbery in the East Hills neighborhood.

Aurelias Marshall looks on as his defense makes opening statements in his murder trial. (June 2, 2015)
(Aurelias Marshall looks on as his defense makes opening statements in his murder trial/June 2, 2015)

In opening statements, prosecutors showed the jury graphic photos of Battaglia’s head caved and bloodied. They told the jury they would hear testimony from witnesses, including Marshall’s own brother and girlfriend at the time, that Marshall confessed to beating Battaglia.

Prosecutor Kellee Koncki told jurors Marshall was free for years because he intimidated witnesses.

But the defense told the jury that witness statements they would hear during the trial would be inconsistent and therefore not credible. They also claimed the prosecution has no physical evidence.

Marshall faces life in prison if convicted of first-degree murder.

Opening statements were delayed Tuesday morning after a juror was dismissed due to a pending court case, and the electronics system in the courtroom failed. The proceedings were moved to another courtroom for the trail to resume.

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