Former Miami University football player Zachary Marshall, who was found guilty of burglary mid-October, was sentenced by Judge Michael Sage Nov. 19 to jail time and community service.
According to Marshall’s lawyer, Robert Peeler, Sage sentenced Marshall to 60 days in the Butler County Jail, minus 36 days for the time Marshall already served after the jury found him guilty. Marshall has also been sentenced to 120 days of house arrest after being released from jail. Furthermore, Marshall will also undergo a year of intensive probation-including no alcohol use-four years of community control (formerly called probation) and 200 hours of community service.
According to police, Marshall entered the dorm room of a female student in Havighurst Hall May 21, assaulting her and allegedly smothering her with a pillow.
Peeler said the jury must not have believed all of the allegations against Marshall or his punishment would have been much harsher, with much more jail time.
“It’s a painful price to pay for one night of drinking,” Peeler said. “There’s been situations where the results are much worse.”
Assistant prosecutor Jason Phillabaum said he thought the punishment was appropriate for the case.
“I think Mr. Marshall will, once he serves jail time, have an opportunity to prove himself that this is an anomaly,” Phillabaum said. “And, I’ve heard that this ruined his life and that is just not true. He will have to complete community control and if he stays out of trouble and does everything he’s supposed to, he can always apply for an expungement.”
Phillabaum said his client indicated a prison sentence would not be necessary and community control would be appropriate and Sage agreed.
The jury, when deciding guilt, was given a note from Sage stating, “Intoxication is not an excuse for an offense. Voluntary intoxication may not be taken into consideration in determining the existence of a mental state that is an element of a criminal offense.”
Peeler said he felt this was an unfair stipulation since it did not allow room for one-time mistakes.
“It’s an unintentional consequence by the state legislature to make it such an indefensible situation for people to be in this situation,” Peeler said.
Phillabaum disagrees, saying voluntary intoxication can be used as an excuse, not a defense.
“The law is very clear that alcohol, voluntary intoxication is not a defense,” Phillabaum said. “That has been very clear as case law in Ohio. It makes sense. It wouldn’t be appropriate for you to get drunk and say, ‘Oh, I didn’t know I was raping her. Oh, I didn’t know I was steeling that car.'”
Peeler was also concerned that athletes are held to a different standard from other students.
“I don’t think it helped him being a football player,” Peeler said. “There was too much notoriety in this case. In other cases, it would have been handled much differently.”
Peeler said Marshall is not allowed to return to Miami’s campus at least until the victim, junior Melissa Saumure, graduates. He said Marshall plans on returning to school after he is done serving his sentence, but may not go back to Miami.