Mills attorneys file second appeal

By Renee Brown, The Times-Reporter
Posted 8/8/2008

A second appeal has been filed in the Marsha Mills murder case.

Attorneys for Mills are appealing the July 18 decision by Tuscarawas County Common Pleas Court Judge Elizabeth Lehigh Thomakos to dismiss Mills’ petition for post-conviction relief.

The appeal, filed Friday in the 5th District Court of Appeals, will be the subject of written arguments by attorneys on both sides of the case before the matter is set for oral argument sometime in the future.

The petition, filed in April, set forth 15 claims that defense attorneys hoped would persuade Thomakos to vacate the jury’s guilty findings on two counts of murder, felonious assault and child endangering and the subsequent life sentence she imposed. Fourteen of those pertain to alleged errors made by Mills’ trial attorneys and one to an alleged error on Thomakos’ part.

Thomakos dismissed the petition without a hearing, stating the claims are more properly made in an appeal and no evidence was presented by Mills’ attorneys that would justify throwing out the jury’s verdict.

Mills’ direct appeal of the verdict and sentence has been pending before the appellate court for more than a year. The matter was argued in June but no decision has been made.

Mills, 57, of Dover was convicted and sentenced in June 2007 as a result of the investigation into the May 2006 death of Noah A. Shoup, 2, of New Philadelphia that occurred as Mills baby-sat him.

Prosecutors maintain the boy died a violent death, while the defense claims the boy died after falling down a short flight of outside steps onto concrete. Mills is serving a life sentence with parole eligibility after 15 years are served.