Rebecca Braswell wanted custody of her daughter so bad that she had her ex-husband, John Marmo Jr., killed for it. That’s the story Investigation Discovery’s I’d Kill For You will feature this weekend. The episode entitled “First To Die” tells the story of a female Navy officer who entices her friends to kill her ex because she refused to give up custody.
Investigation Discovery viewers will hear from law enforcement officials who will give insight about the case, as well as family and friends who know intimate details. For the brutal death of John Marmo Jr., Rebecca Braswell was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison.
I’d Kill For You on ID will tell you that Ventura County police were dispatched in December 2006 to a townhome in a peaceful, upscale neighborhood in the 1200 block of Mission Verde Drive in Camarillo, California. They had been called to the scene by a neighbor who heard gunshots and loud voices just outside her home. When she went outside to investigate, she found the body of 27-year-old John Marmo Jr.
Stories vary about just how Marmo died. Some news outlets report that he was shot as he was leaving his vehicle and that he collapsed once he stumbled to his front door. Others report that he was shot as he was leaving his home and headed to his car. Here is how the Ventura County Star described the slaying, according to what police investigators say Matthew Toerner told them.
“Toerner told (a detective) that while parked in the driveway, Butler gave him the gun used to shoot Marmo. (A detective) said Toerner told him after a short period of time, Marmo came out of his house, and while Marmo was entering his car, he “emptied the clip at him.() Butler told (a detective)… she had been at the scene of the shooting of John Marmo with another subject she identified at (sic) Matt Toerner… Butler said she and Toerner were going to confront Marmo concerning Marmo beating her up and Toerner shot Marmo at least once… Butler said she did not know Toerner was going to shoot Marmo.”
Neighbors say they were completely shocked by what happened in the tranquil community, a community known for having little to no crime. Investigators were able to piece the puzzle together through interviews with people around the Navy base, where many people had heard about Rebecca Braswell’s desire to see her ex-husband dead. According to court records, Rebecca Braswell was engaged in a long and heated custody battle with John Marmo Jr., who wanted custody of his daughter while she was stationed elsewhere. Investigators say that Braswell became so consumed with hatred for Marmo that she began telling her friend Shannon that she wanted him to die.
Shannon listened intently as Rebecca Braswell told her stories about how she had been threatened by John Marmo, causing Shannon Butler to recruit some other men that she knew would be up for the job. As the women looked for fellow Seabees to commit the murder, word spread around the base about their plan. Eventually, Matt Toerner agreed to kill John Marmo because he wanted to protect Shannon.
Acquaintances of John Marmo Jr. say that he knew that someone was trying to kill him and that he found out someone had tried to blow up his car with explosives. Rebecca Braswell and John Marmo met in 2001 and were divorced by 2004. During the marriage, court documents reveal that Rebecca was often physically and mentally abusive to John. It’s a long, sad story of how a relationship can start off as a loving one only to turn bitter and ugly in the end. We won’t fill in all the details. For that, you’ll have to tune into I’d Kill For You on Saturday, January at 10 p.m.
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