Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Marsalis loses extradition court fight

Philadelphia sex criminal faces Sun Valley rape charge

Express Staff Writer

Jeffrey J. Marsalis

Convicted sex criminal Jeffrey J. Marsalis has lost his attempt to avoid extradition to Idaho to face a 2005 Sun Valley rape charge.

Marsalis, who is serving a 21-year prison sentence in Pennsylvania following sex crime convictions in Philadelphia in 2007, lost his fight to avoid extradition at a court hearing last week in Forest County, Pa.

Joseph Kahn, the Philadelphia district attorney who prosecuted Marsalis, told the Idaho Mountain Express on Tuesday that Marsalis used a habeas corpus defense at a hearing on July 2. Habeas corpus is a legal procedure wherein a prisoner can allege unjust incarceration.

"His habeas corpus petition was denied, so extradition may proceed after a 30-day period," Kahn said. "So as of Aug. 1, he may be extradited to Idaho."

Blaine County Prosecuting Attorney Jim Thomas, whose office has worked for several months for extradition of Marsalis, was pleased with the hearing results.

"We are looking forward to bringing Mr. Marsalis back into Blaine County's custody to face his criminal charges," Thomas said. "For the victim's sake and the community at large, I trust that justice will be served in a timely fashion and we look forward to presenting the case at trial."

Marsalis is charged with rape in Blaine County for allegedly drugging and raping a 21-year-old woman at his Sun Valley condominium on Oct. 9, 2005. The woman, who Blaine County court records allege was a lesbian who "did not intend to have sex that night," reported the alleged crime to police the following day.

Marsalis, now 35, is serving a 21-year prison sentence at the Forest State Correctional Institution at Marienville in northwestern Pennsylvania.

Sentencing followed a lengthy trial in Philadelphia that received national news media coverage and ended in June of 2007. Marsalis was convicted of two counts of felony sexual assault and one misdemeanor count of unlawful restraint.

He had been charged in Philadelphia with date raping seven women. According to testimony during his trial, Marsalis posed as an astronaut, a CIA agent or a trauma surgeon to entice the women, many of whom he met on, an Internet dating service. In reality, Marsalis was a part-time nursing student.

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