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Exonerated ex-inmate Cody Marble could be headed back to jail - KTVQ.com | Q2 | Continuous News Coverage | Billings, MT

Exonerated ex-inmate Cody Marble could be headed back to jail

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Cody Marble Cody Marble
CONRAD -

Cody Marble, who won a 14-year fight earlier this year to erase a conviction for a rape he says never occurred, could be heading back to prison for a probation violation.

A Missoula prosecutor last month filed to revoke Marble’s suspended sentence for an unrelated 2013 drug charge, after Marble was involved in an altercation this May in Conrad and then refused to report to jail on the direction of his probation officer.

Marble has not reported to authorities since that time and is considered a parole “absconder.”

His father, Jerry Marble, told MTN News Friday that his son felt he did nothing wrong and was fed up with having to meet probation requirements when he’d been freed from prison and exonerated on the 2002 rape charge.

“I think it’s terribly wrong,” he said. “The guy has served all of these years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit and they say he owes them.”

Jerry Marble said he doesn’t know whether his son will turn himself in. A warrant has been issued in Missoula for his arrest, for violating terms of his probation on the drug charge.

Marble was convicted in November 2002 for raping a fellow inmate at the Missoula County Juvenile Detention Center and sentenced to 15 years in prison. Marble, just 17 when he was charged, denied that the rape occurred and said he was set up by other detention-center inmates, who lied at his trial.

Marble, now 33, went through several attorneys and attempts to overturn his conviction until his case was taken up by the Montana Innocence Project and Missoula lawyer Colin Stephens a half-dozen years ago.

A 2015 Montana Supreme Court decision sent Marble’s case back to Missoula County and ordered a new look at the case. The county’s new head prosecutor, Kirsten Pabst, re-examined the evidence and decided in April 2016 to ask that the charge be dismissed and Marble’s conviction dissolved.

Marble then was released from the Crossroads Correctional Center prison in Shelby, but a judge didn’t make the exoneration final until January this year.

Yet Marble still had a five-year suspended sentence on his record for drug possession, incurred when he was out on parole from the rape sentence in 2013.

Jerry Marble said his son was told initially that he’d be discharged from any probation requirements related to the drug charge, because of all the time he’d already spent in prison.

But corrections officials later said because the suspended drug sentence was “consecutive,” meaning it was to follow time for the rape sentence, it was still in effect, and that Cody would have to comply with probation requirements until May 2018, Jerry Marble said.

“They told me they were going to discharge him when he was exonerated,” Jerry Marble said. “That didn’t happen … That’s dirty pool.”

State corrections officials told MTN News Friday that the drug case is independent of the rape case, and that they don’t have the legal authority to vacate a sentence imposed by a court.

Jerry Marble said the May altercation in a Conrad parking lot began when a woman accosted him for being a “rapist,” and then escalated when the woman’s boyfriend and brother arrived and blocked Cody’s car. A scuffle ensued and Cody left the parking lot in his vehicle, and apparently hasn’t returned to Conrad since, his father said.  

About Mike Dennison

MTN Chief Political Reporter Mike Dennison joined MTN News in August 2015 after a 23-year career as a newspaper reporter covering Montana politics and state government. While some may believe that politics are boring, Mike firmly believes that's not the case if you tell the story with pizzazz and let people know why the story is important.
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