A woman charged with killing the son of a former Durham deputy police chief will remain in jail without bail after a Wednesday hearing in which her attorney said she wasn’t the shooter.
Nitisha Jewel Page, 39, was arrested Tuesday and charged with murder in the April 19 killing of 27-year-old Anthony Marsh Jr. on Pilot Street. He was the son of former Deputy Police Chief Anthony Marsh.
Page is also charged with misdemeanor hit-and-run.
On Wednesday Page appeared virtually on laptop screens in front of a judge, the assistant district attorney and her attorney in a Durham County courtroom for her first apprentice on the charges.
Page’s attorney, Bill Finn Jr., told District Court Judge Patricia Evans that Durham police said Page wasn’t the shooter.
“This is simply a situation where the Durham Police Department believes that she has information relevant to this investigation and when she chose not (to) exercise her rights to make a statement, she is arrested on first-degree murder charges,” Finn argued.
Police told Finn that if Page did come in and speak with police that she would likely go home, Finn said.
He outlined that and other information as he asked Evans to set bail around $100,000, while Assistant District Attorney Michael Wilcox argued that Page be held in jail without bail.
Page is a lifelong resident of the area, attended Hillside High and N.C. Central University and has family in the area who will help monitor her, Finn said.
“This is her home; she is not going to go anywhere,” he said. “She will be where she needs to be when she needs to be there.”
Finn also said Page and her family have received numerous death threats.
Evans asked Wilcox if he was aware of the information police shared with Finn. Wilcox said that information hadn’t made it to the District Attorney’s Office yet.
“I find it very interesting that I have a warrant here for murder,” Evans said, and then someone from the police department is talking to Page’s attorney about how he was shot.
“I want someone from the Durham Police Department over here right now,” Evans said, and she paused the hearing and moved onto other cases as she awaited an officer.
No one from the Police Department came, but District Attorney Satana Deberry soon entered the courtroom and said there wasn’t need for an officer to address the court’s concerns.
“You’re speaking for the Durham Police Department?” Evans asked.
“No, I am speaking for the state of North Carolina which has charged Ms. Page,” Deberry said.
Evans told Finn to repeat the information to Deberry about Page not being the shooter and police wanting to talk with her. Finn argued that if police had not planned to arrest her if she spoke to them, that suggested they don’t think she is a danger to the public and, therefore, should be eligible for bail.
“That is not exactly true, your honor,” Deberry said about Finn’s description of the case.
At this point, there is probable cause to believe that Page participated in the killing and that she is a danger to witnesses in the ongoing investigation, Deberry said.
Evans then asked Deberry whether she planned to seek the death penalty in the case.
Under state law, defendants charged in non-capital cases are entitled to pretrial release conditions unless they are considered a danger to themselves, the community or interfering with the case.
Deberry, who has previously said she opposes the death penalty, said that wasn’t a matter to be decided in this hearing. Deberry said the judge should consider community safety and asked that Page be held without bail.
Until a decision is made about whether Deberry will seek the death penalty, Evans said, Page will be held without bail.
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