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Man convicted in 1990 Eastown murder sentenced to life in prison

Posted at 1:36 PM, Jul 09, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-09 17:15:47-04
Gail Battaglia addresses the  court while AJ Marshall awaits his sentencing.

Gail Battaglia addresses the court while AJ Marshall awaits his sentencing.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- The man convicted of killing another man in Eastown 25 years ago will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Aurelias Marshall  was convicted in June of killing Joel Battaglia in 1990.  Marshall was charged with the murder in January.  The judge sentenced him to life in prison without parole Thursday afternoon.

Battaglia's brother and parents addressed the court and Marshall during Thursday's sentencing. Gail Battaglia turned to Marshall and said, "I see no remorse in Mr. Marshall and I'm convinced you feel none."

“To know the face of evil, look at Aurelius Marshall," she said, looking directly at Marshall.

Marshall also addressed the court and maintained his innocence.  He claimed to have been convicted by the media.

“They say I have no remorse, that’s kind of hard for me because I did not do this," he  told the judge. “I am innocent of every charge levied against me. I am a man of God.”

Marshall's brother, a key witness during the case, testified against him saying he witnessed Marshall beat Battaglia.

Kent County Circuit Court Judge Mark Trusock, in delivering the life sentence, said, "You clearly killed this young man... You beat him into the ground like he was nothing."

“In my opinion sir, you are about the lowest form of a human that there possibly is," Trusock said.

Upon hearing  the sentence, several of Marshall's relatives could be heard gasping and  sobbing. Outside the courtroom they continued to defend his innocence.

“That’s my son’s father. It’s a lie, (the  judge) don’t even know him, he’s a man of God," said Veronica Henderson. "(The jury) didn’t care who they got as long as they got somebody."

Battaglia's relatives said they believed justice was served with Marshall's conviction.

“I used to not like the idea of the words: justice and closure. But it's there, it’s there you bet," Jerry Battaglia, Joel's father, said to reporters following the sentencing.

Another man, Quentin Lavell Carter, was framed by Marshall and spent 17 years in prison sexual assault charge, according  to the Kent  County prosecutor.  The allegations came  to light after investigators began searching for evidence to connect Marshall to Battaglia's death. Carter was recently exonerated by the Kent County Prosecutor.