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Pointe Witness Stands By Story: Man Insists Suspect Hired Him to Kill

June 15, 2006

By Dan Cortez, Detroit Free Press

Jun. 15–The confessed gunman in a Grosse Pointe murder-for-hire plot stuck to his story Wednesday, telling jury members in Wayne County Circuit Court that he was hired last year to kill a bookkeeper.

During a second day of cross-examination, Andre Williams, 36, of Detroit was grilled once again by defense attorney Philip Thomas, who questioned him about statements that led to his plea deal in exchange for his testimony against Joseph Marasco and Derrick A. Thompson.

Marasco, 51, of Grosse Pointe is charged with murder for allegedly seeking out somebody to kill 57-year-old Barbara Iske of Sterling Heights.

Prosecutors contend that Marasco was upset when he learned his share of his mother’s estate had been reduced. That led him to want to kill Iske — who was his mother’s bookkeeper — for financial reasons.

Prosecutors allege that led him to Thompson of Detroit, who is facing a murder charge based on the claim that he hired Williams to kill Iske outside the home of Marasco’s mother on Dodge Place.

Williams previously told Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor Robert A. Stevens that he’d seen Marasco in the rearview mirror of a car with Thompson about a week before Iske was killed.

Thomas challenged Wednesday whether Williams could clearly see Marasco plotting with Thompson to kill Iske, and how he knew that’s what the men were discussing.

To that, Williams said: “I saw him, but I couldn’t clearly see his features. I looked back at him and saw him clearly.” Williams was charged in the shooting in November.

In January, he pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of second-degree murder in exchange for his testimony against Marasco and Thompson.

The case, which is being heard before Judge Gregory D. Bill, is expected to wrap up for the week today.

Marasco and Thompson have separate juries deciding their fates.

Contact DAN CORTEZ at 586-469-1827 or dcortez@freepress.com.

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Police say Barbara Iske, 57, was killed because Joseph Marasco was upset over his mother’s will. Iske was his mother’s bookkeeper.

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Copyright (c) 2006, Detroit Free Press

Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News.

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