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Deliberations Begin in Grosse Pointe Trial

Detroit Free Press
July 14, 2006

The jury began deliberating the fate of one defendant in the joint trial of alleged conspirators in the Grosse Pointe murder-for-hire trial Thursday, with closing arguments for alleged mastermind Joseph Marasco scheduled to continue today.

The jurors who will decide the fate of Derrick Thompson – the alleged middleman between Marasco and confessed triggerman Andre Williams – began deliberations about 1 p.m. Their decision, if they arrived at one, must by law be kept secret until the separate jury weighing Marasco’s fate reaches its verdict.

Both men are charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy and other crimes in connection with the ambush killing of Barbara Iske, 57, the long-time bookkeeper for Marasco’s elderly mother.

Iske of Sterling Heights was shot twice June 14, 2005, in the driveway of the home Anne Marasco shared with her son in Grosse Pointe.

Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor Robert Stevens summed up seven weeks of trial Thursday by telling jurors that Marasco arranged Iske’s murder because he thought she was “boxing him out of” his family’s considerable fortune.

“He did not like Barbara Iske. He did not want Barbara Iske around,” Stevens said, reminding jurors that Iske was one of the trustees of Anne Marasco’s will.

Marasco had already been booted out of the family business, Stevens said, and a recent revision of his mother’s will had seen his portion of her estate cut in half.

And Stevens reminded jurors that Anne Marasco’s caretakers had heard him threaten to “get rid of” Iske on more than one occasion. Stevens recalled testimony from one caretaker who told the court Marasco said, “I’ll kill anyone that gets in my way, just like the mold in my bathroom.”

The afternoon ran out before Marasco’s attorney, Philip Thomas, had a chance to deliver his closing argument. But Thomas and Co-counsel Mike Rataj have argued throughout the trial that Williams, the prosecution’s star witness, told authorities whatever they wanted to hear in exchange for being allowed to plead guilty to second-degree murder – and a chance to someday go free.

All sides are due back in front of Judge Gregory D. Bill at 8:30 a.m. today.

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