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Monday, June 5, 2023
June 5, 2023

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Manslaughter plea nets homeless man 25 months


A transient was sentenced Wednesday to 25 months in prison for second-degree manslaughter.

Jeffrey R. Marshall, 31, was sentenced by Clark County Superior Court Judge John Nichols. Marshall had pleaded guilty to the charge at a Dec. 18 hearing.

According to a probable cause affidavit filed by the Vancouver Police Department, Marshall attacked an acquaintance, Benjamin J. Hernandez, at Waterworks Park on May 13, 2006, with an object, described as a lead pipe or a type of homemade nunchaku.

Hernandez suffered a jaw fracture and underwent surgery at Portland’s Legacy Emanuel Medical Center. Following the procedure, swelling in his throat caused Hernandez to suffocate.

Deputy Prosecutor Tony Golik contended his death was caused by a combination of the assault, the surgery and pain medication, and that Marshall recklessly caused his death.

Witnesses told police that Marshall, upset over a previous altercation, approached Hernandez at the park at Fourth Plain Boulevard and Fort Vancouver Way. Marshall reportedly had slung a sock filled with rocks or weights in the fashion of a nunchaku, and had knocked Hernandez to the ground, according to the affidavit.

Then, two weeks after the incident, Marshall provided details about the alleged assault to a friend. Marshall said “he got in a fight with a guy and just freaked out.” He told the friend he had used a lead pipe in the fight, the affidavit said.

Though the incident happened more than three years ago, Marshall wasn’t arrested until October because he was homeless and, therefore, difficult to track down, prosecutors said.

Marshall’s court-appointed attorney, Clark Fridley, said Wednesday his client wanted to plead guilty because “he realized that he was in an altercation with somebody and (that) they died and he wanted to take responsibility for it.”

Laura McVicker: 360-735-4516 or laura.mcvicker@columbian.com.