The second wife of former Henrico County School Board member Watson M. “Bubba” Marshall is alleging that the children from Marshall’s first marriage — one of them a Henrico judge — conspired to get her kicked out of her home.
In a suit filed last month in federal court in Richmond, she accuses the defendants of improperly obtaining an emergency court order removing her from her home for four days while items belonging to her and her late husband were removed without police supervision.
According to the complaint, in 2014 Watson Marshall, a longtime area lawyer, divorced his wife of 58 years with whom he had four children — one of them Henrico Circuit Court Judge John Marshall. In 2015, Watson Marshall married Cynthia Advani Marshall and moved into her home in Henrico.
The suit alleges that Marshall’s adult children “were furious at the remarriage of their father to Ms. Marshall, and treated her with hostility and contempt.”
Watson Marshall, widely known as “Bubba,” is said in the suit to be a descendant of Chief Justice John Marshall of the U.S. Supreme Court. In 2018, the John Marshall Foundation credited contributions from Watson and Cynthia Marshall among others that made a play about the 1807 Aaron Burr treason trial, “The King of Crimes,” possible.
Watson Marshall, who served on the School Board, at one point as chairman, during the 1980s, died on Aug. 8, 2018, at age 80.
The suit notes that he, his first wife and his children are white and that Cynthia Marshall, now 60, is African American.
A footnote states: “While this ... complaint does not allege racial animus on the part of the defendants, Ms. Marshall gives notice of her intent to revisit the issue.” One of the children allegedly called her a “homewrecker” and used a racial slur, she alleges.
In addition to Judge Marshall, the defendants are Robert Marshall of Glen Allen; Brenda Marshall Thompson of Sandston; Andrea Marshall Voehringer of West Chester, Pa.; and T.W. Holmes, an officer with the Henrico Division of Police.
Lawyers for the defendants and/or the defendants did not respond to requests for comment or declined to comment on the suit.
John Goots, a Mechanicsville lawyer and friend of the family who had represented Watson Marshall before his death, said all the defendants will be answering the complaint soon.
T.K. “Tom” Tokarz, acting Henrico county attorney, said his office is representing the officer, but would not comment on the pending complaint.
The allegations center on activities in July 2018 while Watson was ill and being treated at VCU Medical Center.
Cynthia Marshall alleges that her husband’s children “conspired with an officer of the Henrico County Police Department who was keen to act in support of defendant John Marshall, a sitting Henrico County Circuit judge, to secure an improper ... emergency, four-day protective order driving Ms. Marshall from her own home where she had lived for 24 years, the last three with Mr. Marshall.”
The order, issued by a magistrate with Henrico Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court, was a pretext to get her out of the house so the children could “take whatever they see fit,” the suit claims. Three police officers showed up at her door at 11 p.m. on July 26, 2018, and she was “rousted” from her Henrico home while wearing her nightgown, according to the complaint.
She alleges that during the four days she was gone, two of Marshall’s children entered her home, as seen by concerned neighbors, and removed documents and items including a television set still in its shipping crate addressed to her.
Items the suit says Cynthia Marshall found missing when she returned included her marriage license to Marshall, the deed to her house, bank statements from joint accounts, some clothing and the TV set.
The emergency protective order was unnecessary, the suit contends, because a divorce petition — filed on Watson Marshall’s behalf while he was in the hospital — that would have protected the parties and their property was pending in circuit court. It would have allowed Watson Marshall or his agent to remove his personal property from the residence, according to the suit.
The suit alleges unconstitutional eviction, seizure of Cynthia Marshall’s property and intentional infliction of emotional distress and asks for unspecified actual and punitive damages.