Man sentenced in motorcycle club killing gets more time to appeal

A judge Monday provided more time for a Battle Creek man to appeal his plea in a six-year-old murder case.

An attorney for Marion Barroso asked to reset the clock for a possible appeal of his manslaughter conviction.

Barroso, 69, was sentenced Sept. 21, 2015 to five years and 11 months to 15 years in prison after entering a no contest plea to manslaughter in the Jan. 1, 2012 death of Leeroy Taylor at the Iron Coffin Motorcycle Club in Battle Creek.

But lawyers argued last year that Barroso never had the opportunity to appeal his case because he was never appointed an appeals attorney.

Investigators later determined that someone wrote “he does not want a court appointed attorney” on a court paper he was given at sentencing explaining his appellate rights. Because of the notation, the file was closed.

In August Barroso told Circuit Judge John Hallacy that he did want to appeal and was awaiting appointment of an attorney. But deadlines for any appeals ended before anyone learned the case was closed because of the line written on the court form. Barroso said he didn’t write on the form and no one is sure who did.

Hallacy agreed last year that Barroso could have an attorney and could begin his appeal process.

But Monday, attorney John Zevalking of Grand Rapids, asked the judge to make another modification in his ruling, asking the court to reissue the judgment of sentence which would begin the appeals deadlines as though Barroso was just sentenced.

Zevalking said the change would allow his client to begin anew and permit motions in the circuit court as well as the Michigan Court of Appeals.

"It would give him the full opportunity to pursue post-conviction appellate relief," Zevalking said.

Outside the courtroom, Zevalking said he is just beginning to review transcripts and is not sure what issues might be raised in an appeal.

More: Convicted of manslaughter, he wants permission to appeal

More: Judge grants appeals attorney to Marion Barroso in motorcycle club killing case

Taylor, 45, the former president of the motorcycle club and president of the Jackson County Iron Coffins, was found dead inside the Battle Creek club at 15 Gilbert St.

Battle Creek police said he was fatally injured during a fight with two other members, Matthew Starkweather and John Lindahl III, apparently over money owed to Starkweather.

Investigators alleged that Barroso helped the other two men by ordering people out of the club and then handing a shotgun to Lindahl which was used to hit Taylor in the head. Then Barroso allegedly took the shotgun and other weapons to a private residence, investigators alleged.

Starkweather and Lindahl were charged, and Barroso was expected to testify against them, but all charges were dismissed after Barroso gave inconsistent testimony.

In 2015, Barroso was charged with murder and, a few months later, entered his plea.

Starkweather eventually pleaded no contest to assault with intent to do great bodily harm and was sentenced to the 405 days he had served in jail. Lindahl was not charged.

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Trace Christenson,
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battlecreekenquirer.com




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