Briggs convicted of 1st degree murder



Twenty months after the murder of Roy Marvin in Great Bend Twp., a Susquehanna County jury returned verdict of first degree murder against Sarah Briggs.
After deliberating for about four hours on Wednesday evening, the jury also returned guilty verdicts on a count of robbery, a count of criminal conspiracy to commit murder, and criminal conspiracy robbery in Feb. 10, 2015 stabbing death of Roy Marvin.
Although the first degree murder conviction carries an automatic life sentence, Briggs, 28, will be sentenced at a later date in order to prepare a pre-sentence report on the other convictions.
District Attorney Robert Klein said justice was served with the verdict. “The (Marvin) family can hopefully try to move forward,” he said. “Roy Marvin’s voice was heard loud and clear.”
Briggs spent most of the Wednesday on the stand testifying in her own defense.
She countered testimony given by her former boyfriend and co-defendant in the case, Jerry Mast. Mast pleaded guilty to third degree murder in December 2015. He has not yet been sentenced.
She told the court that she was “packing” a marijuana smoking device after the three arrived at a parking area on Harmony Road. It was then she said Mast – from the back seat – stabbed Marvin in the temple, and then continued the attack outside the car.
The defendant outlined the progressive timeline of her drug addiction, starting with alcohol and marijuana as a teenager, to prescription painkillers and opioids and eventually to heroin in the spring of 2014. “I put a needle in my arm, and I fell in love,” she said of her turn to heroin.
Briggs told the court that Marvin introduced her to using methamphetamine later that same year.
On the stand, Briggs said she felt guilt for Marvin’s death. “Not because I did it,” she claimed, “but because my actions led up to it.”
Briggs was the only witness offering testimony for the defense.
On the second day of the trial (Tuesday, Nov. 8), jurors heard from Briggs’ co-defendant, Mast.
Testimony continued Tuesday in the Sarah Briggs murder trial in the Susquehanna County Court of Common Pleas, with the defendant’s boyfriend taking the stand in the morning.
On the stand, Mast admitted that he stabbed Marvin first with his folding pocket knife, while the three were sitting in Marvin’s vehicle, hitting the victim in the right side of his head at his temple.
Mast said Briggs then took a kitchen knife from her purse and stabbed Marvin in the chest. He told the court that Briggs had taken the knife from her sister’s home the morning of the murder.
He said both he and Briggs participated in the attack outside of the vehicle, with Briggs running behind Marvin and stabbing him multiple times in his back, including one cut he said went deep into Marvin’s right shoulder.
In total, Marvin sustained 29 stab wounds that led to his death, according to testimony provided in the afternoon by Forensic Pathologist Dr. Gary Ross, of the Northeast Forensic Center in Dunmore.
Mast also told the court that following the murder, the couple used heroin purchased in Johnson City, N.Y., before traveling to Bradford County where they spent the night in Marvin’s car in a church parking lot. He said after they used more heroin the following morning (Feb. 11, 2015), they each wrote suicide notes and eventually left them in his mother’s mailbox.
Contrary to statements given by Briggs’ when she was arrested, Mast said he was not “mad” because she was pregnant and had used methamphetamine with Marvin the night prior to the murder. He said he was angry because she had lied to him about the quantity she had used. “I’m an addict. I wanted to get high, also,” he told the court.
Dr. Ross, along with others, offered expert testimony on the stand, noting Marvin had sustained multiple stab wounds to his head, chest and defense wounds on his extremities.
The wounds to his head penetrated the soft tissue but not the skull, he told the court. However, some of those wounds caused a significant amount of bleeding.
But some of the knife wounds in Marvin’s chest went deeper, puncturing all five lobes of his lungs, and hitting his heart.
“All the stab wounds caused bleeding,” Dr. Ross said, “Each contributed to bleeding; each contributed to his death.”
He told the court it would have taken several minutes for Marvin to succumb to the blood loss; and any or all of the wounds, he said, could have been made with either the folding pocketknife or the kitchen knife.
Senior Judge J. Michael Williamson, of Clinton County, is specially presiding over the case.

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