Central Florida man fatally shoots ex-wife’s new husband, her, then himself, deputies say

May 10th, 2010 by

By RENE STUTZMAN AND SUSAN JACOBSON
The Orlando Sentinel and Orlando Sentinel

LAKE MARY — For a time, it appeared that Orval “Dale” Burkhart had escaped.

His wife’s ex-husband, John Marshall, arrived at the front door Thursday morning and opened fire with a semiautomatic pistol. Marshall, 59, of Lake Mary then began to circle the exterior of the house. He got into the backyard and began firing through windows.

Burkhart, 59, slipped out a back door and ran for his life, according to the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office. It was 7:30 a.m. He was barefoot and hadn’t yet dressed for work.

When Marshall discovered that Burkhart had fled, he climbed onto his motor scooter, chased Burkhart down and shot him dead on the sidewalk.

Marshall’s ex-wife, Dale Leigh Marshall-Burkhart, 54, would be the next to die. She had earlier left for work, but for some unknown reason, turned around.

As she rounded the corner in her gold sport utility vehicle, her ex-husband saw her and opened fire. She put her SUV in reverse, apparently intending to flee, but instead of driving off, the vehicle drifted backward, up a curb and against a tree, where deputies found it. She was dead behind the wheel.

Marshall then shot himself. He died on the sidewalk, near both bodies.

Seminole deputies could piece together what happened Thursday in the Burkharts’ quiet neighborhood, but they couldn’t explain why it happened.

Marshall and his ex-wife had been divorced 12 years. They had had five children during their 18-year marriage, but they barely kept in touch. Their divorce had been bitter, said Sheriff’s Office Lt. James Clark.

She had accused Marshall of domestic violence and had banned child visitation. He had stayed away and not been in contact with his children for five years, Clark said.

“We don’t know what prompted this,” Clark said. “Something had to trigger it.”

Marshall’s arrest record could be a clue: He was arrested in 2000 and 2006 for problems related to child support.

Neighbors did not see the gunfire at the house on Holbrook Circle, but they did see the chase, the deadly shootings and the suicide, Clark said.

It played out on a sidewalk and street about two blocks from Greenwood Lakes Middle School and nearby Lake Mary High School, where Marshall and Marshall-Burkhart’s youngest daughter attends 11th grade. She had left for school before the shooting began, Clark said.

Neighbors tried to stop the violence. One grabbed a gun and challenged Marshall, Clark said, but the ex-husband pointed his pistol at that man, who then retreated.

One neighbor heard five shots. The sounds were dull and low, he said, as if someone were banging a cantaloupe on a kitchen counter.

A dozen people called 911.

“There’s a man with a gun who just shot somebody in the head in front of my house,” a very distraught woman said.

Asked the dispatcher, “Somebody shot someone in the head in front of your house?”

“Yes,” said the caller. “There’s a dead guy on the sidewalk in front of my house, near the driveway.”

Clark described Marshall as “a mysterious person” who had lived in Africa, Costa Rica and elsewhere. Tracking down information about Marshall from those places would take time, he said.

Public records indicated Marshall was a computer specialist who had recently lived in a Lake Mary home less than four miles from the Burkharts.

Burkhart worked for a construction company, a neighbor said. His wife was a manager at Hospice of the Comforter and worked with volunteers, the organization said.

Marshall and Marshall-Burkhart’s teenage daughter was being cared for by an older sister, according to a neighbor.

Orlando Sentinel staff writers Bianca Prieto and Anika Myers Palm contributed to this story .


One Response

  1. stonedcanuck

    DER DER DER!!!

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