Prosecutor declares shooting of former teacher justified

February 6, 2014

By Rob Alway. Editor-in-Chief.

LUDINGTON — Mason County Prosecutor Paul Spaniola has declared that last month’s fatal shooting of William Marble by Michigan State Police Trooper James Luttrull was justified. Spaniola issued a statement this morning with his legal opinion. Today’s statement was the first time officials have released the names of the troopers involved.

The incident occurred on Jan. 14, 2013 at the residence of William and Nancy Marble, 1221 N. Dennis Road, at the Hansen Road intersection in Amber Township.

“After two calls were placed from the residence to Mason-Oceana 911 by Nancy Marble during the evening hours of Jan. 14, and a third call from the 911 operator to the residence resulted in a disconnection, troopers James Luttrull and Alexander Hammerle were dispatched to the home of William and Nancy Marble,” Spaniola said in a statement. “Trooper Luttrull arrived first and from outside the residence, was able to hear an argument between Bill and Nancy Marble.

Spaniola said threats of violence uttered by Bill Marble were overheard by the troopers and recorded from a body microphone worn by Trooper Luttrull. Spaniola said the recording was one of the key items in the investigation.

“Trooper Luttrull knocked on the door along with Trooper Hammerle and Nancy Marble opened the door. Both troopers were in full uniform and had driven fully marked state police vehicles to the house. She announced loudly, ‘The police are here, Bill,’ as she opened the door.

“After Trooper Luttrull had very brief conversation with Nancy Marble, she called out for Bill again and stepped aside. William Marble came from the opposite end of the house and had a semi-automatic handgun in his right hand pointed at the midsections of the two troopers.

“The troopers drew their duty weapons and stated, ‘Drop’ before Trooper Luttrull fired one shot from his duty weapon striking Mr. Marble.”

Spaniola said only one shot, by Luttrell, was fired.

Dr. Alan Grillo, attending physician at the Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital emergency department, and Dr. Stephen Cole, Kent County medical examiner, each determined the single shot fired by Trooper Luttrell grazed the inside of Bill Marble’s index and second fingers of his right hand, passed through the snuff box in the webbing between the thumb and index finger and entered his right chest and lodged in his left shoulder blade. A small piece of the rubber pistol grip of the pistol Mr. Marble was holding was broken off and was observed in the snuff box wound.

Photographs were taken showing the hand wounds and debris. The pistol Marble was holding was examined at the MSP Grand Rapids laboratory and had a portion of the grip damaged.

“The trajectory of the single shot, as evidenced by the hand wounds, the debris from the pistol grip and the entrance of the bullet into the chest drew to the unmistakable conclusion that Mr. Marble was pointing a handgun directly at troopers Luttrull and Hammerle at the time he was shot. Furthermore, I found that deadly force was reasonable in that situation,” Spaniola said. “The shooting of William Jackson Marble was legally justified.”

The investigation was principally conducted by Det. Sgt. Scott Rios and Det. Sgt. David Johnson of the Michigan State Police. Further investigation was assisted by MSP sixth district detectives 1st Lt. Mike Anderson, Sgt. John Forner, Sgt. Denise Bentley, Sgt. Rob Davis and Sgt. Mike Stephens. MSP was also assisted by Mason County Sheriff’s Office, Ludington Police Department and Scottville Police Department.

Bill Marble, 68, was a retired teacher who worked at Mason County Eastern Schools.


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