Former Deputy Faces Trial For Perjury

Advertisement

A former Gila County Sheriff's deputy who resigned amid allegations that he lied during several trials and falsified his job application has been indicted on two charges of perjury and one charge of making a false sworn statement.

Larry Marrs pleaded not guilty last week during his arraignment in Globe and is scheduled to appear for a pretrial conference March 26.

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

The board will decide whether to take action against the former deputy, POST spokesman Lyle Mann said, after the criminal case is decided.

Marrs could not be reached for comment.

If the board finds that Marrs violated the peace officer's code of ethics, it has the power to suspend or revoke his law-enforcement certification.

The former deputy's career began to crumble last summer when the sheriff's department launched a two-month investigation into his claims that he was a college graduate, a county SWAT team member and a former Navy Seal.

The investigation, conducted by Sgt. Tom Rasmussen of the Gila County Sheriff's Department, concluded that Marrs' claims were untrue.

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

Rasmussen reported that Marrs told him he'd "messed up" and that by making the claims, he was trying to look good.

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 the university, however, contradict that claim. They show that Marrs took four courses at that school, and that he earned two F's, a D and a C.

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

During his investigation, Rasmussen said he discovered that Marrs was actually a radio man during his four years in the Navy. His discharge papers, which were issued in 1992, list him as serving in the "infantry and seaman specialties."

Rasmussen began investigating Marrs after Globe defense attorney Anna Ortiz complained that the deputy had testified that he had been a Navy Seal.

Ortiz told the sheriff's department that she contacted the Navy and learned that Marrs had never been a Seal and his testimony to the contrary constituted perjury.

Marrs also allegedly lied under oath during a court case that involved a Globe police officer who shot and killed a man. Marrs witnessed the event.

During the course of the trail, defense attorneys asked Marrs about his law enforcement duties.

According to trial transcripts, he replied in part that, "I am a SWAT team member."

Under further examination, Marrs was asked what his SWAT duties were. He replied, "I'm a certified entrance man. I'm the first person to go in. I clear whatever is in my path; take down whoever."

That was untrue since the county doesn't have a SWAT team.

Gila County Attorney Jim Hazel said it's unclear yet if any of the trials Marrs may have lied at will be affected.

"That would be up to the defense attorney in each of the cases to argue," Hazel said. "If they want to relitigate, arguing that Marrs' testimony affected the outcome, then we'd have to have an evidentiary hearing, and the judge would have to make the final decision."

Commenting has been disabled for this item.