Family of murder victim asks prosecutors for death penalty

By Holly Brantley - bio | email

DONIPHAN, MO (KFVS) - A Ripley County family is outraged after learning prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty for their daughter's accused killer. It's been almost four years since Heather Donnell was brutally raped and murdered.

"Oh she was my world," said Sherrie Donnell. "That was my first born baby."

Heather's body was discovered in her neighbor Eddie Marshall's trailer. The scene was so horrific investigators say they had to identify Heather's body by a tattoo on her ankle.

Marshall quickly became the prime suspect. Police found him in Arkansas and charged him with Heather's murder.

"I just wish everybody would get together in this country and try to get this guy where he belongs, dead," said Sherrie.

Marshall's first trial ended in a hung jury. Prosecutor Monte Phillips says he's now only seeking life in prison. Phillips won't say why the death penalty is off the table.

"Give him life in prison and ten years down the road what if you get a governor that pardons him he gets out and kills another young girl and rapes her," said Sherrie.

Meanwhile, Heather's son Gavin faces his own life or death struggle.

"They just found out his brain tumor is growing and he's sick," said Debbie Green, an aunt. "He's sick and he misses his momma and he doesn't have her."

"I'm most frustrated because it's almost been four years and still we have no justice," said Sherrie.

Eddie Marshall faces his second trail in May.

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