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Staff photo by Don Himsel James Marks listens to arraignments in Milford District Courth Tuesday, October 6, 2009. Marks is the father of William Marks.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Marks’ father agrees to pot plea deal

MILFORD – Insisting his son’s involvement in the 2009 Mont Vernon home invasion and murder has made him a marked man among local police agencies, James Marks agreed Tuesday to plead guilty in district court to one of two drug possession charges stemming from his October arrest in Brookline.

Marks’ son is 19-year-old William Marks, who is in jail after admitting his role in the Mont Vernon incident and agreeing to testify against ringleader Steven Spader and co-defendant Christopher Gribble. The elder Marks, 47, was arrested in Brookline shortly after midnight Oct. 21, after police found what Marks described as “maybe a gram, maybe a joint” of marijuana in his vehicle.

On Tuesday, Marks pleaded guilty to one count of possession of a controlled drug, a Class B misdemeanor, for which Judge Martha Crocker issued a $350 fine. Under the agreement, a second charge of possession of drugs in a motor vehicle was dropped.

Court documents state Marks has until Dec. 21 to pay the fine, or to appear in court to explain why he didn’t. He argued in court against the fine, calling it inappropriate and too costly while citing the even greater expense of hiring an attorney.

Marks, who lives at Amherst Mobile Estates, 464 Boston Post Road, with his wife and daughter, said police told him they initially stopped him because the light on his rear license plate was too bright. He said police were traveling behind him for about two or three miles before they signalled for him to stop.

“I feel I was pulled over because of my son,” Marks told a New Hampshire Union Leader reporter after leaving the courthouse. “I have a bull’s-eye on me.”

It was during the stop, Brookline police said at the time, that they found a small amount of marijuana in the vehicle.

William Marks, who testified against Spader last month and is expected to testify against Gribble if he goes to trial in February, agreed in the aftermath of the crime to plead guilty to conspiracy to commit murder and burglary, and accomplice to first-degree assault in exchange for his testimony and a 30- to 60-year prison sentence.

Spader was found guilty and sentenced to multiple terms of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Earlier this week, Gribble pleaded guilty by reason of insanity to two counts of first-degree murder and one count each of attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder, burglary conspiracy and witness-tampering.

“I think he will have difficulty with that,” James Marks said of Gribble’s insanity defense.

Dean Shalhoup can be reached at 673-3100, ext. 31, or