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Trial begins in decades-old Ohio slayings

Associated Press

YOUNGSTOWN: The trial of a man charged with murder in the slaying of a family nearly 40 years ago began Monday with jury selection.

Seven women and five men were chosen to serve as jurors in the trial of James Ferrara, The Vindicator newspaper ( ) reported.

Ferrara, 64, already is serving a life sentence in a 1983 double slaying. He’s charged with killing a couple and their 4-year-old daughter in the Youngstown area on Dec. 14, 1974.

Ferrara was indicted in June in the 1974 slayings after evidence from the scene was submitted to the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation database and there was a match to him on three fingerprints. He has pleaded not guilty.

Investigators said Ferrara killed 33-year-old Benjamin Marsh, his 32-year-old wife, Marilyn Marsh, and their 4-year-old daughter, Heather. They contend Ferrara shot the adults and struck the child.

Prosecutors haven’t publicly discussed a possible motive, according to the newspaper.

Benjamin Marsh was a security guard at the General Motors plant in Lordstown, where Ferrara also worked. Ferrara was not a suspect until the fingerprint match in 2009.

Case files handed over to defense attorneys for Ferrara show more than 100 suspects, though some were more serious than others, the Vindicator reported. At the time, speculation centered on Marsh’s job at GM and the possibility that he was investigating illegal activity at the plant when he was killed.


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