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Appeal still alive for Grand Rapids man sentenced to death

Scales of Justice photo
Tim Evanson via Wikimedia | CC BY 3.0


A Michigan man sentenced to death nearly 20 years ago won a key decision Thursday to extend his efforts to overturn the punishment.

Marvin Gabrion can appeal four points, including claims that his trial lawyers were ineffective at the 2002 trial in federal court in Grand Rapids, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said in a 2-1 order.

Gabrion, now 66, was convicted of killing a woman in a lake in a national forest in Newaygo County, north of Grand Rapids. Michigan doesn’t have the death penalty, but it is available in homicides prosecuted in federal court.

The location of Rachel Timmerman’s death was the key factor in how the government got involved. Prosecutors said Gabrion killed her to prevent her from testifying against him in an assault case.