An Alamosa attorney serving an 11-year prison sentence for shooting a driver in the head at a protest against police violence during the summer of 2020 has been suspended from practicing law for three years.
James Marshall, 29, agreed to a three-year suspension of his law license in connection with the June 4, 2020, shooting in downtown Alamosa, according to recently published disciplinary records. The suspension began April 4, and Marshall can apply for reinstatement after the suspension ends, the records show.
Disciplinary records note “significant mitigating factors” influenced the decision to levy only a three-year suspension of Marshall’s law license, including that witnesses said the attack was out of character for Marshall, that a fellow protester was “gravely concerned” about the threat posed by the truck, and that Marshall was both remorseful and cooperative with the discipline process.
Marshall shot a pickup truck driver in the back of the head when the driver approached a small group of protesters who’d gathered at the intersection of Main Street and State Avenue in Alamosa on June 4, 2020. The driver, Danny Von Pruitt, survived the shooting.
Marshall told investigators that he fired into the pickup truck because he believed the truck had struck his wife, who was also protesting that day. Video published by the Colorado News Collaborative and the Alamosa Valley Courier shows the truck moving into the protesters at the intersection and the subsequent shooting.
The protesters had been walking in the intersection when the traffic light was red, then moving out of the way to let traffic pass when the light was green, the video shows. No protesters were struck by the truck, police said in the affidavit.
Marshall ran away after the shooting, then went home, shaved off his beard and called his attorney, according to an affidavit filed against him. Police officers arrived at his house more than two hours later and arrested him. Pruitt, the driver, was shot in the head but continued driving for several blocks before he passed out.
Marshall, a criminal defense attorney based in Alamosa, was charged with attempted second-degree murder and six related charges, but all were later dismissed as part of a plea deal in which Marshall pleaded guilty to felony tampering with a body — a charge without any factual basis but that both sides agreed carried an appropriate sentencing range of four to 12 years in prison.
As part of the agreement, the prosecution promised to recommend Marshall serve the minimum four-year prison sentence, court records show. The plea agreement left the ultimate decision on sentence length up to Judge Gilbert Martinez, who in December sentenced Marshall to serve 11 years in prison, a year less than the maximum presumptive sentence.
Marshall is expected to be eligible for parole in March 2027, according to the Colorado Department of Corrections.
An attorney who represented Marshall in the disciplinary proceedings did not return a request for comment Wednesday.
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