Man convicted in 1990 Eastown slaying will remain locked up for life

Battagila murder appeal

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - A man convicted in the 1990 Eastown slaying of Christopher Joel Battaglia will remain locked up for life after the Michigan Supreme Court this week said it would not consider his appeal.

Aurelias J. Marshall earlier this year failed to convince the Court of Appeals to overturn his June, 2015 felony murder conviction in the beating death of Battaglia on Lake Drive SE.

Marshall asked the Supreme Court to weigh in, but justices denied the request. “We are not persuaded that the questions presented should be reviewed by this Court,’’ justices wrote in a brief order. Now 59, Marshall is serving a mandatory life term at Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility in Ionia.

Battaglia was walking home in the city's Eastown neighborhood early on June 11, 1990 when he was attacked on the sidewalk during a robbery.

Police initially were unable to identify the Catholic Central graduate because he had no identification. Battaglia, 23, was identified the following morning based on a tattoo of a Phoenix on his right ankle.

The case went unsolved for more than two decades until investigators announced the arrest of Marshall in December, 2014. Marshall had been a familiar name to investigators, but it wasn't until the cold case was reopened that the pieces fell together.

Marshall challenged his conviction on several fronts and said the judge's instructions to jurors were "coercive.''

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