By Judy Reed
Marvin Charles Gabrion, convicted in the 1997 slaying of Rachel Timmerman, of Cedar Springs, and sentenced to death, will not get an “emergency” psychiatric review to determine his mental functioning.
Gabrion’s attorneys sought the order as part of a claim to show Gabrion’s trial lawyers were not up to standards. They also questioned whether he was “even competent to be executed.”
U.S. Judge Robert Holmes Bell rejected the request. “The Court is reticent to enter an order allowing an expert to evaluate Defendant without some showing that such an examination is necessary,” wrote Bell. “Defendant has not provided an affidavit indicating circumstances that warrant further inquiry.”
U.S. Attorney Timothy Verhey wrote that there is no emergency in this case, and that there is no basis for a fourth mental assessment. Gabrion has been evaluated three times previously, and found competent.
Gabrion is on death row at a federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana.
Although Michigan does not have the death penalty, Gabrion was sentenced to death by lethal injection, because Rachel’s body was found on federal land, in the Manistee National Forest.
Prosecutors believe Gabrion murdered Rachel to keep her from testifying that he raped her the previous fall. The rape trial was set to begin within days of her disappearance.
Rachel disappeared from her father’s house in Cedar Springs in June 1997. She had told her father she was going on a date with a man named John Weeks, who had been calling her. He asked her to bring her 11-month-old baby, Shannon, along with her. Weeks was reportedly calling Rachel at the request of Gabrion.
Her body was found in Oxford Lake, in Newayo County, weighted down by cinder blocks, on July 5, 1997. Her daughter, Shannon, was never found. Gabrion reportedly told inmates that he killed the baby, too.
Gabrion is suspected of killing at least three other people—including John Weeks, who disappeared shortly after the crime and was never seen again.
Rachel’s father, L.C. (Tim) Timmerman and his brother, John, have written a book that tells the story of Rachel and Shannon’s disappearance and Gabrion’s subsequent arrest called The Color of Night. The book can be found on Amazon in both hard cover and as a kindle e-book.