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Suspect cites errands in delaying surrender

A Shady Hills man accused of attempted murder in the shooting of another man turns himself in 12 hours later.

By TAMARA LUSH

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 28, 2000


NEW PORT RICHEY -- A Shady Hills man wanted for shooting a truck mechanic waited 12 hours to turn himself in because, as he explained to deputies, he "had three or four errands to run."

Robert Gerald Marshall, 61, of 14928 Little Ranch Road, told officers that he was just trying to scare James Roark and another man with his gun so they would get off his property.

"(Marshall) advised that when the gun went off he thought it was pointed at the ground," wrote Detective Pete Weekes.

Marshall was charged with attempted murder and aggravated assault. He is being held at the county jail in lieu of $35,000 bail.

The argument between Marshall and Roark happened about 10 a.m. Wednesday on Marshall's property on Tiger Trail, where Roark and his brothers rent shop space to repair trucks.

According to Roark's family, Marshall asked Roark to move some tools and equipment from the shop. Roark replied that the tools were not his and refused to move them.

Marshall then asked Roark and another man at the shop to leave, according to authorities. Marshall then went inside his home and returned with a pistol, Roark told deputies.

Roark told officers that he was sitting in the driver's seat of his truck when Marshall approached him with the gun and fired one shot from a distance of about three feet.

"This bullet struck the victim in the left arm then passed through his arm into his right arm, then into the vehicle seat," wrote Weekes in a report.

The other man at the shop, Keith Wheeler, said Marshall then pointed the gun at him.

Marshall asked Wheeler if "he had anything to say about this."

"No, sir,' " replied Wheeler, who got in his truck and drove off.

Roark also took off. He drove half a mile down Tiger Trail and stopped at the intersection of Peace Boulevard to call for help. He was later flown to St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa. Roark, 35, of 9120 Royal Palm Drive in New Port Richey, was released from the hospital Wednesday night.

In the hours after the shooting, Pasco sheriff's deputies searched for Marshall in the Shady Hills neighborhood. At about 11 a.m., Roark's brother, Paul Roark, got a call on his cell phone. Paul Roark let reporters listen to the caller, who he said was Marshall -- but he didn't disclose his location.

Detectives obtained Marshall's cell phone number from Paul Roark and called him. Marshall answered, deputies said.

"He advised the incident was an accident and he did not wish to turn himself in," wrote Detective Arthur Morrison. "Marshall stated he had three or four errands to run and he would return home when they were done."

That conversation -- and other discussions with Marshall's family -- led the truck company owner to turn himself in, sheriff's spokesman Kevin Doll said.

About 10:30 p.m., Marshall walked into the Pasco County Sheriff's Office on Little Road and was arrested, according to deputies.

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