Man Accused Of Murder Refuses To Attend His Own Arraignment
Justin Armando Marquez, accused of second-degree murder, did not show up in Natrona County District Court for his arraignment and scheduling conference on Monday.
Marquez is accused of stabbing Casper resident Ryan Schroeder more than 25 times in June 2021, and the body was found two months later in the Coal Mountain Road area west of Casper.
If convicted, the punishment for second-degree murder is 20 years to life behind bars.
Despite the seriousness of the alleged crime and the consequences for Marquez, he did not appear for his arraignment, the first hearing in district court in which he pleads guilty or not guilty. If not guilty, the trial date and other deadlines would be set.
Judge Catherine Wilking asked Marquez's attorney why he wasn't there.
Public defender Valerie Schoneberger responded that she had been on the phone with Marquez who told her last week that he had possible medical issues, which later he would identify as angina and chronic diarrhea that would occur on the day of his arraignment.
Assistant District Attorney Kevin Taheri verified Schoneberger's answer, saying Marquez filed a letter with the court on Sept. 16 that he would be having those problems on Monday.
Schoneberger added Marquez, who according to court records stands 6 feet tall and weighs 400 pounds, was refusing to get in the van at the Natrona County jail for claustrophobia.
Taheri added Marquez was fighting with jail personnel and also refused to appear in court by videoconference.
Wilking said all this was news to her and wondered why she was only hearing about these concerns Monday afternoon.
Since the arraignment wasn't going to happen, the judge continued with the scheduling conference.
Wilking first told Taheri to prepare an order to require the jail to bring Marquez to the court for his arraignment because he has refused to appear by videoconference.
Marquez, she added, has been cooperative at previous hearings, but he doesn't dictate what the court does. "It's not Mr. Marquez's choice."
Wilking, Taheri and Schoneberger then agreed the five-day trial would start at 9 a.m., Monday, March 20.
The judge also set deadlines for discovery, expert witness lists and motions hearings.
At the end of the hearing, attended by members of the Schroeder family and Marquez's brother, Wilking asked Taheri and Schoneberger if they had any further issues.
Taheri had none.
But Schoneberger said that Marquez was having difficulty with his defense team.
Wilking responded that and other issues could be resolved later and said, "If nothing further, we are adjourned."