Maria Marshall seemed to be living an enviable life. She was beautiful and wealthy, with a successful husband and three healthy sons. It wasn’t until Maria was killed that her friends, family, and neighbors saw how hard she had been working to keep up appearances and keep her family together.
On the night of September 7, 1984, Robert and Maria were traveling home from Atlantic City when, according to Robert, he pulled over at a picnic area with a flat tire. He told investigators that he was knocked unconscious by a blow to the back of his head, and about $2,000 of his casino winnings was stolen. He said he awoke to find his wife with two gunshot wounds, lying dead across the front seat of their car. Robert Marshall was arrested on December 19, 1984, three months after Maria’s murder. The prosecution theorized that he had hired two men to kill his wife.
To the affluent residents of Toms River, New Jersey, Maria’s husband had been a devoted family man and a respected member of the community. But soon after Maria’s death, his perfect image unraveled as the police investigation uncovered debt, infidelity and a $1.5 million insurance policy. This is a case which has had a lot of publicity over the years. Today, we hope to tell Maria’s story with depth and compassion, looking at how this infamous case effected Maria’s children, those close to her, and the community of Toms River.