A 49-year-old Alabama convict is slated to go on trial Monday in Richland County on charges of murder in the 14-year-old beating death of the former maitre d’ at Forest Lake Country Club.
The man, Marshall B. Jones, was indicted in January for the murder of Joseph Dillard, 55, who was missing for two weeks in 2002 before being found dead in his apartment at 905-B Hancock St.
A warrant in the case alleges that Jones confessed to slipping into Dillard’s apartment and assaulting him to the point where Dillard died. It also says he “ransacked the victim’s residence and then left the scene in the victim’s car.”
Jones’s attorney, Tivis Sutherland, said Friday his client is not guilty and will fight the charges.
Never miss a local story.
The apartment where Dillard was living was near Columbia’s Rosewood neighborhood, between South Kilbourne Road and South Beltline Boulevard.
Jones, who is being held at Richland County’s Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center, was brought back to South Carolina last April from Alabama, where he was in state prison, according to records at the Richland County clerk of court’s office.
According to Alabama state prison records, Jones was serving a two-year, seven month sentence on various forgery and theft charges at Bibb Correctional Facility. He is scheduled to be released from Alabama state prison, at the earliest, in April of this year, Alabama records show.
After Dillard was killed, his body wasn’t found for about two weeks. He had not responded to numerous calls and messages. Because his car was gone, people assumed he was away.
Actually, Dillard’s car, a 1997 Cadillac, was left in Wachovia Bank’s Five Points parking area, and the bank had had it towed away when no one showed up to claim it.
Two years later, Dillard’s father, a retired physician also named Joseph Dillard, was found shot to death in his Forest Acres home on Stepp Drive.
In 2006, a Richland County jury convicted Kevin Goodwin of murder in that case. He was sentenced to life without parole. Goodwin, who was convicted after DNA evidence placed him at the home, is now serving life without parole.
The two slayings are not believed to be related.
Jury selection is set to begin Monday. Fifth Circuit Solicitor assistant prosecutors Luck Campbell, Dolly Garfield and Curtis Pauling will handle the case.