A father who reportedly killed his teenage children before taking his own life at a home in Murphys had been arrested four years ago following a fight with his estranged wife and her sister, according to the Calaveras County Sheriff's Office.
Deputies found the bodies of Phillip Randolph Marshall, 54, his son Alex Marshall, 17, and daughter Macaila Marshall, 14, Saturday afternoon at a residence in the 1200 block of Sandalwood Drive in the Forest Meadows subdivision in Murphys. Previous news stories incorrectly indicated that both children were boys.
It has been determined that Alex and Macaila Marshall were asleep on the couch at the time they were shot, according to a Sheriff's Office news release. Officials said evidence at the scene confirmed that Phillip Marshall was the shooter, and foul play by any other parties has been ruled out. They said the time of death has not been determined. All three people had single gunshot wounds to the head. Authorities identified the weapon as a handgun.
Deputies were called to the home about 3:10 p.m. Saturday regarding a report of suspicious circumstance. Friends of Alex and Macaila Marshall told investigators that they had not heard from the teenagers since Thursday and went to the family's house Saturday to look for them. While at the front door of house, they were able to see inside and saw Phillip Marshall lying on the floor in a pool of blood.
The mother of the two children, Sean Marshall, was out of the country.
Authorities said follow-up investigation revealed that the Marshall family had prior contact with the Sheriff's Office. In November 2008, Phillip Marshall filed a crime report against his estranged wife for burglary. In December 2008, Sean Marshall and her sister, Erin Chamberlain, filed a complaint with the Sheriff's Office against Phillip Marshall for battery.
According to reports, sheriff's officials said, Phillip Marshall became involved in an argument with Chamberlain outside Sean Marshall's residence in Murphys. The argument reportedly stemmed from Phillip Marshall wanting to see his daughter, Macaila. During the argument, Phillip Marshall allegedly slapped Chamberlain in the face.
He was arrested and booked into the Calaveras County jail on suspicion of battery, disturbing the peace, and making annoying or harassing phone calls.
Authorities said it has not been determined what led to the murder suicide.
Alex and Macaila Marshall were students at Bret Harte High School in Angels Camp. Bret Harte students will hold a candlelight vigil at 7 p.m. Wednesday on the school quad. A memorial will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday in the football stadium.