SANTA ROSA — There’s sufficient evidence to try a Napa man on charges he plied a 13-year-old girl with drugs, took her on an hours-long road trip through Sonoma and Napa counties and sexually assaulted her.
But in a preliminary hearing Wednesday the girl recanted earlier statements to police that Timothy Marble, 51, tied her to a tree and raped her, and that he carved his name in her arm with a knife or other sharp tool.
Testifying in a closed courtroom, the girl said Marble tied her hands with her own leggings but did not bind her to a tree, said Marble’s attorney, Jeff Mitchell. Also, she said she etched his name in her left arm herself at some point in the 27-hour ordeal, Mitchell said.
“I asked her why she did that and she said she felt like dying,” Mitchell said.
Judge Dana Simonds dropped related allegations and one criminal charge but ruled Marble could be tried on the balance, including suspicion of aggravated sexual assault on a child and forced oral copulation, carrying decades in prison if convicted.
Simonds closed her courtroom to the public while the girl, now 14, testified. She walked in carrying a multicolored stuffed animal, but appeared calm.
Marble was seated so the girl did not look directly at him.
She described sneaking out of her father’s Napa house before dawn April 1, walking to a gas station to buy marijuana from her regular source, Mitchell said.
Marble was there visiting a store employee and struck up a conversation with the girl, according to her testimony.
They agreed to go for a ride in his red Chevrolet pickup, stopping on a remote hillside where Marble spread a blanket. The two smoked pot and Marble shot her up with methamphetamine before forcing her to have sex with him, she testified.
Later, they drove to Middletown and back to Sonoma County, stopping outside a convenience store before heading to Bodega Bay.
Early the next morning, after being sexually assaulted again, the girl jumped from the moving truck and hid in the bushes. Marble was arrested after calling 911 to report she had run off.
Marble, being held without bail, did not testify. He will return to court March 12 to discuss a possible trial date.
Prosecutors did not return calls Thursday seeking comment.
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