SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

February 20, 2014

Beverly man sentenced for threatening prosecutor

BY JULIE MANGANIS
STAFF WRITER

---- — SALEM — A Beverly man will spend the next two years on probation after pleading guilty last week to threatening a Salem District Court prosecutor.

John Marrs, 53, of 4 Ober St., Beverly, was on probation for backhanding a young man with Down syndrome who was a passenger on a van that Marrs was driving in 2012.

In December, he was found guilty after admitting to the assault and was placed on probation.

During a visit to the courthouse on Jan. 9, Marrs encountered Assistant District Attorney Patrick Collins in a corridor and began yelling threats, including “I’m going to get you.”

Collins was involved in Marrs’ earlier case.

Because of the potential conflict of interest, the district attorney’s office asked a prosecutor from Middlesex County to handle the new case.

Mary Beth Long, a spokeswoman for the Middlesex District Attorney’s office, said Marrs pleaded guilty in Newburyport District Court to one count of witness intimidation, a statute that includes threats toward court officials. He was sentenced to one year in jail, with one month to serve and the balance suspended for two years.

Marrs, who had spent a month in custody after his arrest in January, will have the 11-month balance of that sentence hanging over his head while on probation.

He was ordered to have no avoidable contact with the victim and to get a substance abuse evaluation and treatment. He will be subject to random drug and alcohol tests and must write a letter of apology, Long said.

The case was sent to the Newburyport court because Collins is the supervising prosecutor at the Salem district courthouse.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.