Stepfather charged with slaying of teenager

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 4, 2005

William Bruce Marshall, 40, was charged with murder Thursday in the death of his 15-year-old stepdaughter, whose body was found in the woods near Columbiana.

Lt. Rick Miller of the Vestavia Hills Police Department said investigators obtained warrants accusing Marshall in the death of Alicia Nicole Bentley, 15, who was last seen at home the previous Tuesday as her mother left for work, according to media reports.

Officials from the Vestavia Police Department announced late Thursday morning they recovered a body positively identified as the missing 15-year-old.

Shelby County Sheriff Chris Curry said at the request of the Vestavia Police and the FBI, the Sheriff’s Office assisted in the search for the 15-year-old’s body, which was found at about 1 a.m. Thursday.

Also according to media reports, Alicia was last seen at home about 7:15 a.m. in Cahaba Heights. When her mother returned at about 5:15 p.m., the teenager was gone.

Miller said investigators obtained warrants accusing Marshall of the slaying and that Marshall eventually confessed and led authorities to the body, which was found 40 miles off a dirt road in Shelby County near Columbiana.

Police said the body was found in a deeply wooded area near highways 70 and 26.

Last Wednesday, Miller said investigators found Bentley’s drivers permit in a trash bin along with a pair of handcuffs. While it was unclear whether those had anything to do with the case, according to Miller, the bin was located outside a concrete plant where Marshall worked as a truck driver.

Police said Marshall refused to answer the door of his home when officers went to speak with him. And police kicked in the door.

Police said Marshall was taken into custody and confessed to the killing before taking police to the body.

Deputy Police Chief Butch Wilson said the victim’s mother, Tonya Bentley Marshall, provided information that led to her estranged husband.

The couple was recently separated, and Tonya Marshall and her daughter were living in an apartment.

According to the media, Marshall pleaded guilty to aggravated assault of an ex-wife in Tennessee in 2001 and had convictions in Florida for aggravated assault and aggravated burglary.

– Fred Guarin