Dad Guilty Of Second Degree Murder

A jury has convicted James Marslender of second degree murder for the death of his five year old son. The same jury has also found him guilty of drunk driving. The Judge sentenced him to between 12-15 years in prison.

Maslender's defense attorney Ed Bailey immediately asked for a new trial but was denied.

Marslender was on trial this week after his 5-year-old son, James Marslender II, died in the September crash.

The accident happened on Lejeune Boulevard, near the Camp Lejeune main gate when the man's pickup truck struck a tree. Police said the child was not properly restrained and suffered severe head trauma.

The jury got the case around 12:15 p.m. and came back with the verdict shortly after 4:30 p.m.

Stay with WITN News and witn.com for more on this developing story.


Previous Story

Jurors are now deliberating the fate of a dad accused of killing his young son.

Tears dripped down James Marslender's face as his lawyer recounted when his young son died in a DWI crash last year.

Marslender faces second-degree murder, driving while impaired, and speeding charges after his 5-year-old son, James Marslender II, died in the September crash.

The accident happened on Lejeune Boulevard, near the Camp Lejeune main gate when the man's pickup truck struck a tree. Police said the child was not properly restrained and suffered severe head trauma.

During closing arguments to jurors this morning, defense attorney Ed Bailey said Marslender told his son, "Hold on James, hold on." Bailey told jurors no one during the trial has said Marslender was impaired. "The rain brought it on, the highway brought it on, the slick shoulders brought it on, the tree brought it on," said Bailey.

But prosecutors say any way you want to define it, the crash was no accident. "His son died because his father made a deliberate choice," Assistant District Attorney Jamie Askins told the jurors. "Those beers were not accidentally consumed."

Jurors began their deliberations around 12:15 p.m. If convicted Marslender could get 12 to 15 years in prison.


Previous Story

The trial of a Hubert man accused of killing his young son in a DWI crash last year is underway in Onslow County.

James Marslender faces second-degree murder, driving while impaired, and speeding charges after his 5-year-old son, James Marslender II, died in the September crash.

The accident happened on Lejeune Boulevard, near the Camp Lejeune main gate when the man's pickup truck struck a tree. Police said the child was not properly restrained and suffered severe head trauma.

Marslander has been free on a $30,000 bond. Jury selection was completed right before lunch and opening statements began this afternoon.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by wd Location: ne nc on Jul 24, 2011 at 09:24 AM
    A very sad story for everyone involved for sure. Is it a harsh punishment-possbily; is it justified possibly (it was his third offense of DWI ie. '97, '99, & 2010 as well as a list of drug charges and other offenses, some traffic related, according to nc court records ) In any case there are no winners in this case; a lost child, a broken family, an adult wasting his life due to poor judgement causing this to become a criminal matter. Hopefully, he will find peace and find a way to help others to keep them from having these types of tragedies in their lives
  • by Eastern_NC on Jul 23, 2011 at 09:01 AM
    The justice system did this man wrong! This man will have to deal with this for the rest of his life! Second degree murder should be given to someone who intentionally kills someone. I do not think this man intentionally ment to kill his child. It WAS a very stupid and costly mistake, but the judge, DA and jury were wrong. I'm sure this man will have nightmares about over this forever, but I hope the Judge, DA and jury will also. And, I believe in what goes around comes around........
    • reply
      by really on Jul 23, 2011 at 10:08 AM in reply to Eastern_NC
      you really feel this man did not deserve this sentence? how so he made the decsion to get behind the wheel drunk , drive and killed his kids in the process . what would you want to happen to him if he had killed your kid? this is justice served , he gets what he deserves , and now for the next 15 years he can sit in his 8 x 8 room and think about what an idiot he is , what a stupid "mistake" he made.
      • reply
        by mistakesdohappen on Jul 23, 2011 at 12:28 PM in reply to really
        so your saying if you get in your car and back out of the driveway and forget to check your mirrors or whatever and back over someones kid or yours you deserve 15 years in prison? after all you should of been looking behind you.....but it was just an accident...just like the trooper who ran over the pedestrian.....maybe the dad should of just got desk duty.
        • reply
          by RUSERIOUS on Jul 23, 2011 at 08:11 PM in reply to mistakesdohappen
          You can't really think that's a logical comparison!!! An actual accident in no way compares to someone, not only deciding to drive drunk, but drive drunk with their child in their car!!!!!! I hope a drunk driver never makes a "mistake" at the expense of one of your family member's lives! You might actually talk like you've got some sense then!
        • reply
          by really on Jul 24, 2011 at 12:53 AM in reply to mistakesdohappen
          yeah thats a mistake , getting behind the wheel and driving is no different then taking a six shot revolver putting three bullets in it and playing russian roulette. This guy KILLED his son . he deserves to rot in a jail cell . HE made the decsion to drink and drive. His son did not deserve to have his life ended early because he had a father who was to irresponsible to make a smart choice , by calling a taxi , or calling a friend to give him a ride. No instead he put his son in a 3000 lbs gun , forgot to put his son in a seatbelt and then fired the gun at a pole. These people up here defending this guy are a joke
      • reply
        by Eastern_NC on Jul 24, 2011 at 10:00 AM in reply to really
        Those who are without sin cast the first stone... If I was the judge, I would have made him travel to every school in America and other public events and let him explain how his child died, how it affected the rest of his family and let people see what a fool he was for drinking and driving with his child in the vehicle. Maybe that would help someone else and remind him everyday of what he did. Sitting in jail is not the answer... That doesn't help others - his story will be forgotten in a month... Besides, it costs the taxpayers a lot of money for him to sit in prison.
  • by DISGUSTED!, on Jul 23, 2011 at 07:15 AM
    hmmmm, let's see now! Kalee Anthony was found duct taped, rotting in a garbage bag in the woods, Mom got off scott free, BIG Tractor on BIG Highway ILLEGALLY and man is killed when he runs into it, Trator Driver goes scott free, this man made a TERRIBLE decision which ended in an accident and he's going away for 12-15 ??? WHAT is the deginition of JUSTICE? Evidently some people R clueless!!!!! Praying for him and his family. yes, I think he needs help for alcohol, needs his liscense revoked for a longgggg time an alcohol machine in his vehicle for the rest of hins life and probation, but 12-15 yrs?
  • by ace Location: j ville on Jul 23, 2011 at 05:37 AM
    At least he did not wrap his son in a plastic bag, cover his mouth with tape and put him under a bush
  • by Cass Location: ENC on Jul 22, 2011 at 09:14 PM
    Shame on the judge and jury so sentenecing the father to prison, for having an accident that killed his young son. And shame on the judge and jury that let casey anthony walk free for killing her child and hiding and lying to everyone. This man will be enough if he is free to be with the rest of his family.
  • by tammie Location: pantego n.c on Jul 22, 2011 at 04:36 PM
    casey anthony also show she was guilty because if her little had drown,they would of call 911 but with duct tape over nose and mouth,gloves can hide finger prints.and she out on party.s it show she was a free mom so call but with this young man he has too deal with this all his life and put him in prison this long is wrong,casey can make 15 more babies too kill while this father sit behind bar,s if he had dui why weren,t he sit in jail for a while not wait until his son had too lose his life the system fail him.
    • reply
      by Bobby on Jul 23, 2011 at 05:04 AM in reply to tammie
      Can anybody interpret this for me?
      • reply
        by ?????? on Jul 23, 2011 at 12:38 PM in reply to Bobby
        good luck dude.....no help here.....
  • by Rhea Location: Zanesville, Ohio on Jul 22, 2011 at 04:35 PM
    People feel bad when what they have done causes someone to die. James decided to drink & drive with his child in the car and didn't even bother to take the time to restrain him. He got what he deserved.That little boy didn't deserve his fate. He had no choice, but his daddy did!Little James was a precious angel. He was a good little boy who didn't deserve to die. You can rest in peace now, James.
    • reply
      by DISGUSTED!, on Jul 23, 2011 at 07:17 AM in reply to Rhea
      to Rhea, R U ignorant??? James resting in peace has nothing to do whether or not his daddy is in jail! He was with God the minute he took his last breath. U don't impress anyone with your statement.
  • by Watcher Location: Bertie on Jul 22, 2011 at 04:12 PM
    If some of you think my original posting was comparing this young man to Casey Anthony, you are wrong. These two cases are totally different. This young father made a horrible mistake and should pay for it, but did not intend to kill his child...which I think Anthony did...no matter what the jury said.
    • reply
      by leo on Jul 23, 2011 at 07:14 AM in reply to Watcher
      While it was not premeditated, hence the 2nd degree murder charge, the father knew that drinking and driving would put his child at risk. Furthermore he didn't even restrain the child. This case was full of negligence. The jury and judge did the right thing. He can sit in prison for the next decade thinking about how this could have been prevented.
      • reply
        by mistakesdohappen on Jul 23, 2011 at 12:35 PM in reply to leo
        so leo, im guessing you think your fellow trooper should spend the next decade with the dad behind bars being he accidentally killed someone too huh ? i mean he is trained to drive... right ??? if it was that dark outside he should be aware of the too fast for conditions citation..... just sayin...
        • reply
          by really on Jul 24, 2011 at 12:56 AM in reply to mistakesdohappen
          once again stop defending this guys actions , a guy walking down the middle of the road on a dark night , in dark clothing and doing so while breaking the law ....an innocent life was lost here , a childs life , and id be willing to bet if you talked to the dad , if he was a halfway decent dad , or father , he will tell you himself he deserves this....
        • reply
          by mistakesdohappen on Jul 24, 2011 at 07:13 AM in reply to mistakesdohappen
          reply to really: so your saying its ok to run over someone while theyre walking down the road? regardless of what theyre wearing you have headlights. i mean if thats ok im going to gville and and really wipe some people out. then ill just dress them in dark clothes after i hit them. guess youll defend me in court..atleast the dad has alcohol as some excuse. im guessing the trooper was sober????
  • by uh Location: Greenville on Jul 22, 2011 at 03:33 PM
    Those of you comparing this to the Casey Anthony case, this is a completely different case in a completely different state with completely different circumstances. This has absolutely nothing to do with Casey Anthony. Calm down!
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jul 23, 2011 at 12:10 PM in reply to uh
      Really, it seems everytime someone kills someone everyone wants to compare it to the Casey Anthony case. People its over, I dont like the verdict anymore than most people but constantly complaining about it on other stories isnt going to change anything...get over it.
  • by Rob on Jul 22, 2011 at 03:25 PM
    Very bad that this terrible situation had to end even worse. Seems like a judge could use judgement in a case like this as to the fathers appearance on his feeling of guilt, his wifes family's thoughts and good ol common sense. The only thing we can do is elect a different judge when possible.
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