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Sentences handed down in beating, assault

Friday, December 17, 2010

Two Marshall County men were sentenced last week after being found guilty this fall during jury trials.

One of the trials included testimony about a beating that put a man in a coma for 10 days. The other trial ended in convictions on rape charges.

Michael Dean Marlin, 23, of Chapel Hill, was convicted of three counts of especially aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery, robbery, aggravated assault, and assault.

Circuit Court Judge Robert Crigler sentenced Marlin to 20 years on the especially aggravated burglary charges, 20 years on the aggravated robbery, 10 years on the robbery, 10 years on the aggravated assault, and 11 months 29 days on the assault.

Since Crigler ordered all the sentences to be served at the same time, Marlin is to remain incarcerated for 35 percent of 20 years before being eligible for parole. With almost a year of pre-trial jail time to his credit, Marlin might be released in time for Christmas 2016.

At Marlin's trial, the jury heard testimony from the victims, Allen Butler and Leigh Ann Taylor, whose home on Creekview Road, near the Maury County line, was invaded just over a year ago by Marlin and a friend, Travis Lankford. Butler was beaten unconscious by Marlin, and spent 26 days at Vanderbilt Medical Center, 10 of those is a coma. Butler has short- and long-term memory loss, and nerve damage in his right arm. At the time of the trial, he was living with his brother in Nashville. Since then, according to the report in the case file by Crystal Gray of the Board of Probation and Parole, Butler has been able to move back into his own home, with Taylor looking after him.

"He would not wish what he was going through on a dog," reported Gray, who noted that Butler had to rely on Taylor to brush his hair, shave him, and help with all his other daily needs.

According to officials at the courthouse, Travis Lankford, 24, entered a plea of guilty in November, and is due to be sentenced on Jan. 5. Laura Lankford, 20, who drove the two men to Butler's house but did not go inside, is scheduled for trial on Jan. 20.

Marlin has previous convictions for vandalism, evading arrest, reckless endangerment, theft, and violation of probation. He was represented by local attorney Bill Haywood.

Owen Presley, 67, of 2nd Avenue North, was found guilty on two counts of aggravated kidnapping and six counts of rape. Crigler merged the counts together and sentenced Presley to 12 years on the kidnapping and 12 years on the rape, to be served concurrently. As a violent offender, Presley must serve 100 percent of his sentence, and when he gets out of prison he will be on the Sex Offender Registry and subject to community supervision by the Board of Probation and Parole for the rest of his life.

Presley told Charles Brannan of the Board of Probation and Parole that he was being "punished for nothing," but also said, "I really don't remember (what happened); I was drinking that night."

At the trial, the jury heard graphic testimony about how Presley lured his next-door neighbor to his home, allegedly to help him open the door, then forced her inside and kept her there for more than an hour, raping her repeatedly.

Presley has five previous convictions for assault, two for aggravated assault, one for assault and battery, and four for public intoxication, according to Brannan's report. A family member owns the home where he lived on 2nd Avenue.

Michael Collins and Bill Harold of the Public Defender's Office represented Presley at the trial.