AP NEWS

Man serving 45-years for ’97 killing seeks reduced sentence

January 4, 2020 GMT

RUTLAND, Vt. (AP) — A Vermont man serving a 45-years-to-life prison sentence for the 1997 killing of a tattoo shop owner is asking a judge to reduce his minimum sentence by a third.

In a petition filed in civil court in Rutland, Eric Marallo, who is now 40, argues that his trial lawyer failed to make arguments that could have helped his case. Marallo said arguments based on a then-recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that might have affected his sentencing and that his lawyer, on appeal, made a similar error.

The Rutland Herald report ed the filing said that Rutland County State’s Attorney Rose Kennedy was prepared to agree to a 30-years-to-life sentence if the court accepted Marallo’s petition.

“If he had prevailed, I would have had to start over from scratch,” Kennedy said . “With a case that old, it’s not always easy to have the witnesses and evidence available.”

Marallo was sentenced in April 2001 to 45 years to life in jail for the killing of Dwayne Bernier, who was stabbed to death in the Dragon’s Leyr Tattoo Emporium in East Wallingford in November 1997.

Marallo has been in prison since his 1998 arrest.