Sep 27, 2010 9:37 PM by Alison Haynes
PITTSBURGH (AP) - Two men have been charged in the 1993 killing
of a 15-year-old girl after the wife of one of them turned him in,
according to court documents obtained by The Associated Press.
Shannon Marshall told New Castle and Pennsylvania State Police
that she went along when Joseph Marshall Jr., 39, of Pulaski
Township dug up and dismembered Laura Thompson's body a few months
after she was killed in January 1993. Marshall's wife also helped
implicate Sean McDonough, 38, now of Thibodaux, La., who was
arrested Sunday in Louisiana.
The men conspired to kill the girl, who had a 9-month-old child
at the time, after McDonough raped her, police said in two criminal
complaints and affidavits. McDonough also allegedly had sex with
Thompson's corpse before the body was buried, police said.
Nancy Thompson, 61, of New Castle, said her daughter had gone to
play cards with Marshall and McDonough and she always believed she
was alive and would be found.
"I never gave up because I still had intuition in my heart that
I knew she was still alive," Thompson told the AP. Those hopes
were crushed when police arrived Monday to tell Thompson her
daughter was dead and two men were jailed in her murder.
"They just came today and told me everything, that they caught
the two men," Thompson said. She was still attempting to reach her
now 18-year-old grandson with news of his mother's death. Thompson
said she raised the boy until he was adopted when he was "12 or
Nancy Thompson said she can't yet make funeral arrangements
because police are hoping the suspects will help them locate her
Police didn't immediately return calls for comment, and the
court papers don't make clear why Shannon Marshall first went to
police in July or whether she would face any charges. She told
police she was divorcing Marshall and feared his temper. Shannon
Marshall's phone rang unanswered Monday.
Marshall told police that her husband first told her "he had
done something very bad," a few months after the killing, a police
"Joseph Marshall went on to state that he had killed someone.
Shannon stated that after telling her that he had killed someone he
pulled the car over and told Shannon, 'If you want to get out, get
out now,"' according to the court papers.
Instead, she stayed with Marshall, who said he didn't ever want
to talk about the killing again. But that changed in the summer of
1993, when a detective tried to contact Joseph Marshall about
Shortly afterward, he told her that he had killed the girl, who
he identified only as 'Laura,' by stabbing her in the back, she
told police. Marshall then drove her to a wooded area near Route
422 in Shenango Township where he dug up a corpse while she acted
as a lookout, according to her police statement. Joseph Marshall
took the remains and scattered them in a field near Route 108 in
Hickory Township, a few miles away, she told police.
Police charged McDonough after Joseph Marshall allegedly
confessed to the crimes on Saturday, while his wife was present,
and based on conversations Shannon Marshall had with McDonough on
the telephone beginning in August - some of which police recorded.
In her police statements, Shannon Marshall said she called
McDonough to tell him she knew about the killing and that she had
tape recorded a statement about what she knew for the police to
find should anything happen to her. After telling police about
those conversations, police recorded more calls to McDonough, in
which he accused her of "pumping" him for information about the
Confronted with his wife's statements, Joseph Marshall told
police on Saturday that he and McDonough drank beer and hung out
with Thompson before driving her to a cabin McDonough had in the
woods. Contrary to the story his wife claimed he had previously
told, Joseph Marshall said McDonough wrestled the girl to the floor
and stabbed her in the back as she screamed, then had sex with her
after she stopped moving.
Marshall told police he merely watched as that unfolded, and
said it was McDonough who buried the girl in a shallow grave.
Joseph Marshall told police that McDonough claimed to have returned
months later to get rid of the body's skull, teeth and hands - and
that those parts of the corpse were, indeed, gone when he dug up
the body while Shannon Marshall watched, and dumped them in a
Marshall is in the Lawrence County Jail without bond, while
McDonough was in custody awaiting extradition to Pennsylvania. Both
men are charged with first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit
criminal homicide and lesser murder counts. Marshall also is
charged with abuse of a corpse for allegedly digging up the
McDonough faces additional charges including forcible rape, rape
of an unconscious victim, and abuse of a corpse - both for
allegedly dismembering the corpse and for sex acts committed with
Online court records don't list attorneys for either men.
Messages left numbers listed as cell phones for both men were not