Preliminary hearing for incest defendants Feb. 11

Friday, January 25, 2013
Jerrold Marble

A preliminary hearing, originally scheduled for today, has been cancelled according to Clay County Attorney Mike Houchins after trial information, in an alleged incest case involving an uncle and a niece, was filed by District Court Judge Charles Borth Tuesday.

Felony incest charges were filed against Elizabeth Ann Welch, 18, and Jerrold Marble, 35, Jan. 7, following an investigation initiated by the Department of Human Services and Spencer Police Department just prior to Thanksgiving.

Houchins summed up the basic facts of the investigation associated with the allegations.

Elizabeth Ann Welch

"The two individuals were charged with incest. They were relatives and apparently, from the facts, it was consensual. And they were charged," Houchins said.

"Law enforcement were called to the house due to a disturbance," the county attorney continued. "While they were interviewing occupants of the house, information came out that led to the charges."

Arraignment for both is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 11. At that time, either the defendant or legal representation will enter a plea of guilty or not guilty.

Houchins indicated he doesn't anticipate any further charges associated with the specific allegations in this case.

View 18 comments
Note: The nature of the Internet makes it impractical for our staff to review every comment. Please note that those who post comments on this website may do so using a screen name, which may or may not reflect a website user's actual name. Readers should be careful not to assign comments to real people who may have names similar to screen names. Refrain from obscenity in your comments, and to keep discussions civil, don't say anything in a way your grandmother would be ashamed to read.
  • While I would certainly not, for example, be happy if my brother in law and daughter had a relationship, a greater evil is the fact that the press and criminal justice system would ruin their lives over it. Especially an 18 year old. I don't know what psychological factors weigh in here, and that's just the point -- it's none of my business or anyone else's.

    For such a young person, now any time someone Googles her name, this will come up. College, job prospects, anything else will be colored by this forever, and it should have been a private matter. It would have been if she had been a minor at the time.

    -- Posted by AmyPeterson on Fri, Jan 25, 2013, at 6:31 AM
  • Amy - It's also called a felony. And of the colleges, job prospects, etc that you name, will run a background check and find the same answers.

    Not sure how you classify the judicial system as "a greater evil" than incest.

    The media, well that's a whole different story.

    -- Posted by JT on Fri, Jan 25, 2013, at 8:17 AM
  • This is probably a dumb question but is it against the law if it happened when she was 18 and of the legal age? Or is it because it probably happened when she was 17?

    I'm just curious.

    -- Posted by financeman on Fri, Jan 25, 2013, at 8:50 AM
  •'s against the law at any age. Facing up to 10 years. This story is pretty gross and probably something that shouldn't have been published...since they are still innocent...pending trial. As JT said anybody can google there name and see the story but won't see if they are proven innocent. That wouldn't be news worthy. For example...2007 Dean Bond was charged with incest and proven innocent. First made the paper 2nd did not. On a side note he's now at Oakdale as a sex offender. Amazing what you can find with google and Iowa courts.

    -- Posted by Chris-1 on Fri, Jan 25, 2013, at 11:19 AM
  • Amy's comment is correct in that whether it's legal or illegal is beside the point. We as a community don't need to know this. I find it very curious that the press takes such great liberty in deciding which crimes are "newsworthy" and whose picture they will print and whose they won't. I do not see in this instance how reading this story will help me in any way, shape, or form function in this community. We would be so far ahead instead of printing stories like this to support each other and pray for each other. Public humiliation doesn't help anyone in this situation, particularly when none of the facts are printed, rather only the allegations. So very sad...

    -- Posted by onlyathought on Fri, Jan 25, 2013, at 12:00 PM
  • Very sad indeed some things are just harmful to publish we as a community did not need this information! No good served here for anyone.

    -- Posted by windchimes3 on Fri, Jan 25, 2013, at 1:59 PM
  • @onlyathought ..... you are indeed correct in your accusations of "selective reporting". "Spencer" is notoriuos in this practice and has been for as long as I can remember.

    Kinda like all the millions spent on the "drug war" yet it seems the big boys are never arrested & prosecuted. Why is that?

    -- Posted by Doctlby on Fri, Jan 25, 2013, at 4:30 PM
  • I think everything about this is sad but I have to say I am somewhat relieved. When I first read about this I was under the impression that the above mentioned were involving a happy a young child has not been hurt.

    -- Posted by EmilyB on Fri, Jan 25, 2013, at 7:03 PM
  • Well Emily we don't know how long this has been going on and as far as I'm concerned 18 is still a child. Not grown up enough to know how to say no to a 35 year old. Also looks like to me the guy is on meth, check out the scabs.

    -- Posted by Iowachick on Fri, Jan 25, 2013, at 7:31 PM
  • Iowachick I totally agree about 18 being so I said everything about this is sad. It's just not as horrific as I thought it was...but yes it is still wrong on many levels. I feel saddened by the situation and this young girl is the one who has and will continue to suffer. I have no sympathy for the 35 year old man though.

    -- Posted by EmilyB on Fri, Jan 25, 2013, at 10:52 PM
  • JT - why is this a felony? I don't like it, and it's certainly a sign of psychological issues within a family. It seems to me that a confidential family law case through DHS could be opened to ensure that the niece was not victimized as a minor, coerced, or otherwise exploited. That would be in the interest of not only the niece and her family, but the community as a whole. And it would be private, and the parties referred to therapy and other interventions (quite possibly treatment for meth addiction for the uncle as I agree he does appear to have a meth issue).

    But why is it a crime against the state? The cases are called State of Iowa vs. Marble and State of Iowa vs. Welch. Why are our tax dollars going to prosecute, try, adjudicate, and possibly one day incarcerate them?

    The worst crime is that whatever the facts are, people will define them by this. I don't know the uncle at all, but I know of the niece. When my daughter was in eighth grade, she was sent to the high school for math due to her high scores -- for geometry -- for a short time. It was socially intimidating to her, but there was one warm, intelligent, kind classmate in that geometry class. Liz Welch. We ultimately brought her back to middle school to join her classmates in Algebra due to the logistical and social problems of her going to a class with tenth and eleventh graders that year. But Liz Welch has remained a favored individual as far as our family is concerned.

    The point -- this does not define who she is as a person. I don't know what is involved in all this, but she should not be defined by the public, college admissions, etc. etc. by whatever this situation is. It is a family matter, the parties need therapy, and the record should be sealed -- if I ran this zoo.

    -- Posted by AmyPeterson on Sun, Jan 27, 2013, at 12:08 PM
  • When I read this story I can see what might have happened. It says the police were responding to a disturbance. If this was my daughter or sister I would beat this piece of trash to an inch of his life. To take advantage or a youth let alone a neice. And the cops came to see what's the problem. Interview everyone find out this perv is taking advantage of his own family and arrest him. While I do feel some pity for the girl but it takes two to tango. Obviously this is all speculation but I would hope some justice was served.. More than sitting in the Clay County or the State of IA Holiday Inn..

    -- Posted by daronmeyer on Sun, Jan 27, 2013, at 1:02 PM
  • Oh I hadn't considered that. Perhaps it's not meth or bath salts doing their poison on Marble's skin, but an unhappy third relative did what he could to protect Elizabeth and that's where the disturbance began. Oy.

    -- Posted by AmyPeterson on Sun, Jan 27, 2013, at 3:27 PM
  • Incest will usually (98% of the time) create a genetic disorder or mutation because both the child's inherited gene pools are extremely similar and will clash, creating a chromosomal deletion or translocation. It is illegal to bring a mutated child intentionally or an extremely-likely mutated child (90% or higher) into the world according to the Humanitiy &. Genetics act of 1982.

    -- Posted by smalltowntots on Tue, Jan 29, 2013, at 9:41 PM
  • Thanks, smalltowntots. I didn't know 98% of the time the genetic mutation would actually happen, but I know creating a child from such close gene pools has much chromosomal risk.

    Hm. I'm not saying at all that I think this is good or healthy, or that I don't think there is some private matter that needs to be fixed in this family, but from a legal standpoint -- what if the parties involved use birth control? Norplant, the Pill, the man has a vas -- the most reliable birth control available to them? I wonder if there could be a legal argument that, whether or not it's an approved way to conduct oneself, as long as they're using birth control, they're not intending to violate the Humanity & Genetics Act of 1982, and are in fact trying to follow it, within the context of their behavior anyway.

    The Iowa Code, however, is all about the action: Iowa Code 726.2: A person, except a child as defined in section 702.5, who performs

    a sex act with another whom the person knows to be related to the person, either legitimately or illegitimately, as an ancestor,

    descendant, brother or sister of the whole or half blood, aunt,

    uncle, niece, or nephew, commits incest. Incest is a class "D"


    I tried to find some discussion of the genetic aspects of having this law, in the context of the Iowa Code, and a lot of it was about dependent adult abuse -- like someone has their disabled parent or sibling in their home and I guess exploits them? Wow.

    Keeping it illegal is, I suppose, a way to still protect a vulnerable person who is an adult and might claim the contact was consensual when really they were coerced, manipulated, and/or exploited.

    -- Posted by AmyPeterson on Wed, Jan 30, 2013, at 12:34 PM
  • That's just nasty and the fact she's 18 now...tell me this hasn't been going on for years.

    -- Posted by hcsiowa on Wed, Jan 30, 2013, at 4:03 PM
  • Everything that has happened with this girl and her uncle is just pathetic... I used to date this girl and she was a royal pain

    -- Posted by Jilbuhr on Thu, Jan 31, 2013, at 11:32 AM
  • It is rather sad and pathetic I agree with Jilbuhr here.

    -- Posted by AnonymousXXII on Sun, Feb 3, 2013, at 7:13 PM
Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: