Former Deputy Opts To Take Plea Agreement

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Former Gila County Sheriff's Deputy Larry Marrs has agreed to a plea agreement with the county attorney's office that would allow him to plead guilty to one charge of making a false sworn statement.

The agreement also calls for the dismissal of two counts of perjury that were leveled against him two months ago.

The false swearing charge a felony would remain open ended, which means it could eventually be reduced to a misdemeanor if Marrs lives up to the terms of any probation he receives.

"He has to earn the misdemeanor," Gila County Attorney Jim Hazel said.

According to Hazel, Marrs could receive up to one year in jail as part of the plea agreement.

However, Hazel's recommendation, he said, will be three years probation and 90 days in jail.

The former deputy is scheduled to appear before Judge Edd Dawson at 9:30 a.m. May 14. Dawson can accept or reject the plea agreement.

The original charges of perjury and making a false sworn statement were brought against Marrs during an arraignment in Globe after Gila County Sheriff's investigators uncovered evidence that Marrs had lied on his resume and while giving sworn testimony in court.

After Marrs resigned as a deputy last July, sheriff's investigators forwarded the perjury and falsification allegations to the Police Officers Standard and Training Board, the agency that oversees officer conduct.

If the board finds Marrs violated the peace officer's code of ethics, it has the power to suspend or revoke his law enforcement certification. Should the charge against Marrs remain a felony, it would result in automatic revocation of his law enforcement certification, Mann said.

The POST board will review copies of all investigations into Marrs' conduct, including Dawson's decision, before deciding whether or not to begin a revocation hearing, Mann said.

Marrs' career began to crumble last summer when Gila County Sgt. Tom Rasmussen launched a two-month investigation into his claims that he was a college graduate, SWAT team member and former Navy Seal.

Rasmussen's investigation concluded that Marrs' claims were untrue.

When confronted with the results of the investigation, Marrs admitted he falsified his resume and job application and lied while testifying in court, giving sworn depositions and participating in conversations, Rasmussen said.

In June 1994, Marrs wrote on his job application to become a Gila County Sheriff's deputy that he had a four-year pre-law degree from the University of Colorado. Transcripts from U. of C. show that Marrs took four courses at the school and earned two F's, a D and a C.

Rasmussen said Marrs also falsely claimed he was once a military policeman and served on the Gila County SWAT. In truth, the Gila County Sheriff's Department has never had a swat team and military records reveal Marrs had little or no police or special forces training during his four years in the Navy.

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