Mon., 11:52am: Trial begins in Canfield triple murder 40 years ago

YOUNGSTOWN – A prisoner went on trial today for murder in the slaying of a Canfield family nearly 40 years ago.

James Ferrara, 64, who is already serving a life sentence in a 1983 double slaying, is also charged with killing a couple and their 4-year-old daughter on Dec. 14, 1974.

Ferrara was indicted in June in the 1974 slayings after evidence from the crime scene was submitted to the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation database, and there was a match to Ferrara on three different fingerprints.

Investigators said Ferrara killed 33-year-old Benjamin Marsh, his 32-year-old wife, Marilyn, and their 4-year-old daughter, Heather. They contend Ferrara shot the adults and struck the child.

Prosecutors haven’t publicly discussed a possible motive.

Marsh was a security guard at the General Motors plant in Lordstown at the time he was killed, and Ferrara also worked there. Ferrara was not a suspect until the fingerprint match in 2009.

Case files handed over to defense attorneys for Ferrara show more than 100 suspects, though some were more serious than others. At the time, speculation centered on Marsh’s job at GM and the possibility that he was investigating illegal activity at the plant when he was killed.