A man charged with a 15-year-old republican execution was released on bail yesterday.
Appearing at Craigavon Crown Court, 45-year-old Gary Marshall confirmed he understood the charges against him.
Marshall, from Ennis Green in Lurgan, is accused of murdering 30-year-old Kevin Conway on a date unknown between February 16-19, 1998.
Having been kidnapped from his Lurgan home, the married father of four was found on February 17, his head hooded, hands tied behind his back and shot through the head on farmland at the Soldierstown Road near Aghalee.
Detectives arrested Marshall in Manchester last Monday after carrying out a review of the original RUC murder investigation.
Yesterday, Detective Sergeant Brown told the court he believed he could connect Marshall to the charge outlining how soil and fibre forensic evidence connected him to the murder.
He objected to bail on the grounds that Marshall might abscond as he is facing a murder charge.
DS Brown revealed that Marshall was arrested and questioned during the original investigation and refused to speak to police over the course of 20 interviews until forensic evidence was put to him.
The officer said Marshall’s red Vauxhall Nova had been used in the killing and that original examination of the car had uncovered fibres from Mr Conway’s shirt on the back seat. He added that recent further examinations uncovered more fibres from the murdered man’s shirt on both the upright and seated parts.
Solicitor Peter Corrigan submitted, and the officer agreed, that even if convicted despite what he said were “triable issues”, Marshall would only serve a maximum of two years’ imprisonment under the terms of the Good Friday agreement.
He revealed that the married father of two-works as an electrician, regularly travelling throughout the UK, and that was the reason why he was in a Birmingham hotel where he was arrested last Sunday.
Mr Corrigan said there was a cash surety available of £20,000 from Marshall’s sister.
Judge gives explanation
District Judge Dunlop said “murder is a very serious crime indeed and the loss of someone’s life in circumstances where his hands are tied behind his back and he is shot in the head is extremely serious and the consequences for that man’s family live with them”.
The judge added, however, that he had to look at the case in the “context of the Good Friday agreement” and he had decided that to his mind “any risk is best managed by admitting him to bail”.
Releasing Marshall on his own bail of £1,000 with a cash surety of £5,000 to be lodged with the court, Judge Dunlop ordered Marshall to surrender his passport, to report daily to police, to live outside of the Lurgan area and have no contact with the victim’s family.
The case will next be before the court on January 22 next year.