A lawyer for a New York man sentenced to life in prison for executing an Augusta couple on Christmas morning in 2015 argued before the state’s highest court Thursday the conviction should be thrown out because evidence was obtained from his cellphone without probable cause and the jury received improper instructions.

A memorial to Eric Williams, who was murdered nearby in 2015 is seen in photo taken Sept. 26, 2018 near the entrance to gravel pit in Manchester. Kennebec Journal photo by Joe Phelan

David W. Marble Jr., 33, also known as “D-Money,” appealed his 2018 conviction for the murders of Augusta residents Eric Williams, 35, and Bonnie Royer, 26, and the Maine Supreme Court heard oral arguments from his attorney and a state prosecutor Thursday.

Marble was sentenced to life in prison for the murders. He was also thrust into the spotlight by former Gov. Paul LePage, who mentioned Marble by his nickname “D-Money” at a 2016 town hall meeting in Bridgton.

The Supreme Court Justices did not rule on the appeal Thursday and generally issue written opinions after considering the arguments from both sides.

A self portrait by Bonnie Royer, who was pregnant when she was shot and killed by David Marble, who was sentenced to life in prison for killing Royer and Eric Williams in 2015. Photo courtesy of Christine Collins

His appeal states the trial court erred when it denied Marble’s motion to suppress information, obtained by police acting on a search warrant, from his cellphone including site location information, evidence which police used to help tie Marble to the shooting deaths of Williams and Royer in the Summerhaven area of Manchester.

Marble made multiple phone calls to Williams, including one an hour before the murders are believed to have taken place.

His attorney Tina Heather Nadeau argued that probable cause was not sufficient for a search warrant to have been issued and the request for cellphone records was so broad.

“It was, generously, a fishing expedition to identify people who had phone contact with the deceased and nothing more,” she said. “This scattershot approach does not satisfy the particularity requirement. It does not rise to probable cause to search and seize data connected with Marble’s phone.”

Donald W. Macomber, assistant attorney general, argued the lower court properly denied Marble’s motion to suppress the cellphone evidence and said there was sufficient probable cause to seek those records.

He further argued Thursday that “even if there was insufficient probable cause, police relied on a magistrate’s finding,” that their search warrant was established with probable cause, so what they found acting on it should still be admissible in court.

Macomber said even without the cellphone data, “there was overwhelming evidence of Mr. Marble’s guilt, including eyewitness testimony.”

One Supreme Court justice suggested that by saying police acted on good faith, the state could be acknowledging there was a problem with the warrant.

Macomber responded that he was not conceding there was insufficient probable cause to seek and obtain Marble’s cellphone data from carriers, just that the case would have had the same result even if that evidence had been suppressed.

Both attorneys noted the seriousness of what’s at stake Thursday, with Macomber stating that Marble murdered two people, and Nadeau stating that a life sentence for someone means “they are sentenced to die in prison.”

Marble’s appeal also argues the court erred when it gave, over the defense’s objections, the jury “accomplice liability instruction” noting that someone can be found guilty of a crime as an accomplice to it. Nadeau wrote in her appeal brief such instruction was not supported by the evidence and it could have confused the jury.

Macomber’s court filings in response to the appeal stated Marble, throughout the trial, suggested that someone else was the shooter and principal actor in the murders, so it made sense to give instructions to the jury that he could still be guilty of murder even if the jury were to determine that he was at least an accomplice.

Marble, of Rochester, New York, had pleaded not guilty to the charges, and did not testify as his trial.

Authorities said the killings were drug-related, and that Williams bought drugs from Marble and assisted him in dealing drugs. Testimony at the trial indicated Marble was mad at Williams because he heard he had burglarized the Augusta apartment where Marble was staying, taking television sets, drugs and a gun, while Marble was being driven to the Portland area to obtain drugs.

So Marble arranged for Williams, who was with his girlfriend, Royer, to pick him up shortly after 3 a.m. Christmas Day and drive to the entrance of a gravel pit. Authorities said Marble killed them in the vehicle as retribution for the burglary.

Kennebec County sheriff’s deputies and an Augusta police officer reached the site about 4:06 a.m. on Christmas and found both Williams and Royer shot in the head.


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