Canfield triple murder case pushed back to October

By joe gorman


The trial for James Ferrara, who is accused of a triple homicide in 1974 in Canfield Township, has been pushed back to October.

Judge R. Scott Krichbaum of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court agreed to push back the trial for Ferrara, 64, because of the complexities of putting together a case that is almost 40 years old.

The trial had been scheduled to begin Aug. 5. Once defense lawyers and county prosecutors go over their schedules, a new trial date will be set.

Judge Krichbaum said monthly status hearings also will be set for the case.

Ferrara is charged with the Dec. 14, 1974, murders of Benjamin Marsh, 33; his wife, Marilyn, 32; and their 4-year-old daughter, Heather, in their South Turner Road home. Their 1-year-old son, Christopher, was found unharmed and later was adopted by relatives.

A county grand jury last month indicted Ferrara on three counts of aggravated murder and single counts each of aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary.

Investigators with the Mahoning County Sheriff’s Office said they were able to get an indictment after they matched fingerprint evidence in 2009 left at the crime scene with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

Judge Krichbaum, who tries to move cases along speedily, said he usually does not like extending cases but felt it was necessary because of the need for prosecutors and defense attorneys to track down witnesses, review evidence and also review applicable laws from 1974 when the crimes were committed.

“This will take longer than a normal case,” the judge said.

Ferrara did sign a waiver of his right to a speedy trial.

He is serving a life sentence at the Marion Correctional Institutional for a double homicide he was convicted of carrying out in 1983 in Worthington, a Columbus suburb. He will remain in the county jail until his case here is completed.

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