Execution won't be sought in trial of Marion Gales

Marion Anthony Gales, who was suspected in the 1990 killing of women's rights activist Kim Thomas and is now facing a murder charge in the death of another woman earlier this year, won't be tried for his life.

Mecklenburg Assistant District Attorney Jay Ashendorf announced in court Thursday that prosecutors would not seek the death penalty against Gales. Ashendorf, as he left the courtroom, would not talk about why prosecutors decided not to try Gales for his life. “We don't comment publicly on pending cases,” he said.

Defense attorney Terry Sherrill said he believes prosecutors based their decision on the evidence.

“Mr. Gales doesn't have a record of violence,” Sherrill said. “I'm sure that contributed to the prosecutors' decision not to pursue the death penalty.”

Gales, 46, was charged in July in the death of Lacoya Monique Martin, 27, whose body was found April 6 in the 1900 block of Oaklawn Avenue. Police have said forensic evidence links Gales to the case, but they have not released details.

It was the first time Gales has been charged with murder. But in 1997, he lost a wrongful death lawsuit in connection with the slaying of Kim Thomas.

Thomas was killed on the morning of July 27, 1990. Her assailant cuffed her hands behind her back, chased her through her house, slashed her over 20 times and then left her bleeding on the dining room floor.

Thomas' husband, prominent Charlotte kidney surgeon Dr. Ed Friedland, was charged in 1994 with murder in his wife's death. But the charge was dismissed in 1995 because of insufficient evidence.

The following year, Friedland sued Gales, accusing him of killing his wife. A jury in 1997 decided that Gales killed Thomas and awarded Friedland $8.6 million.

Gales, who has been in and out of prison much of his adult life, has denied killing Thomas.