Accused ax murderer to stand trial

LAWRENCEVILLE - Prosecutors expect a jury trial to begin Monday for a Norcross man accused of killing his girlfriend with an ax sometime around Valentine's Day last year.

Shannon Alan Marlow, 34, is charged with murder, felony murder, aggravated assault and theft by receiving stolen property.

He allegedly killed his live-in girlfriend, Patricia Rabold, 47, by repeatedly striking her in the head with an ax.

The incident triggered a 12-hour standoff between Marlow and Gwinnett police SWAT officers at the victim's Edgemoor Drive home beginning Feb. 14. Police had responded to the home to inquire about a Saab vehicle Marlow had allegedly stolen when they stumbled on Rabold's body in a foyer, an orange-handled ax next to her. SWAT officers later found Marlow unarmed, hiding in the attic.

Jury selection is expected to begin Monday, with Superior Court Chief Judge Dawson Jackson presiding. Marlow faces life in prison, the mandatory sentence for a murder conviction, said Assistant District Attorney Maggie Benson, who will prosecute.

An additional 10 years could be tacked on for the theft charge, Benson said.

A detective testified in a probable cause hearing last year that Marlow admitted to the killing, saying he struck Rabold with the tool then drove her Saturn to the Tucker area to indulge in a drug binge.

Medical investigators believe Rabold could have been killed days prior to the discovery of her body.

Benson said testimony could begin Tuesday, with the trial likely concluding Friday.

"It's certainly an interesting case," Benson said.