According to a recent article on DallasNews.com, a prominent Dallas plaintiff’s attorney recently pleaded guilty to murder. The lawyer, Scott Marshall, pleaded guilty on January 20th to murdering Staci Michelle Montgomery, the ex-wife of Marshall’s former law partner Bady Sassin. In return for his plea, Marshall received a 40-year prison sentence.
The plea hearing took place before Judge Don Adams in Dallas County Criminal District Court No. 2. At the hearing, Marshall kept his head down and did not speak as the victim’s mother, Donna Cowey, made a statement concerning the devastating impact of her daughter’s death. “You did this because you were mad at other people. You were mad at her,” Cowey said. “But you hurt other people… She was supposed to be home making cookies that day.” Cowey went on to say that she’s had trouble sleeping since the murder and that her youngest daughter, only 21, will never be the same since dealing with the sudden and grisly loss of a sister.
Marshall’s former partner, Sassin, a Dallas solo attorney, also chose to make a statement. He was angry and said that Marshall should get down on his knees and beg for forgiveness. Before finishing his remarks Sassin added, “If you did this to get back at me… you win.”
On December 20, 2009, Marshall shot and killed Montgomery at his Addison home. At the time, Marshall was involved in litigation against Sassin, who had sued Marshall over the break-up of their former Dallas law firm, Marshall Sassin. Prosecutors allege Marshall intended to use Sassin’s ex to get incriminating information that would help him in the suit. When Montgomery wouldn’t tell him anything prosecutors believe Marshall decided to kill her to hurt Sassin. Prosecutors said that killing Montgomery would strike at the heart of Sassin. Marshall is said to have killed Montgomery to punish Sassin, forcing him to live with that for the rest of his life. Marshall’s attorneys deny that revenge was the motive.
At the plea hearing in January of this year Marshall also pleaded guilty to drug charges related to the murder. Marshall’s defense attorney said that the whole tragic incident had to do with Marshall’s addiction to drugs, “They destroy lives, even attorneys’ lives.”
After the defense and the state were unable to chose a jury last December Marshall offered to plead guilt to spare the families a gruesome trial. Apparently many members of the jury were struck for cause during voir dire due to prejudice against a defendant that is an attorney.
Though this plea deal represents an end to the criminal component of the case, the civil case lives on. Last month, Montgomery’s mother, Cowey, filed a wrongful-death suit against Marshall and several of Marshall’s relatives.