Brother reacts to arrest of his sister's alleged killer 12 years later

POSTED: 8:06 PM Jul 19 2013   UPDATED: 8:14 PM Jul 19 2013
Shirley Pratt photo
BIGGS, Calif. -

An old murder case in may have been solved after 12 years.

An inmate at the Butte County Jail has been arrested in connection with the 2001 shooting death of 41-year-old Shirley Pratt of Biggs.

Marvin Ray Markle Jr., 47, also known as "Ziggy", was arrested Thursday at the county jail where’s serving time for a probation violation.

Shirley Pratt’s brother Paul said his sister was a great lady.  Now he’s relieved that justice may finally be here. 

“I never felt so much relief,” said Pratt.  “Just that pressure taken off my chest. I didn't realize how much it was actually bothering me until I got that call saying they have a strong case.”

Twelve years ago Paul Pratt learned that his sister, Shirley, had been found with a gunshot to her head in the Oroville Wildlife Area near .  Her body was found on October 12, 2001.

“I had the detectives come to the house and they had me identify her," said Pratt.  "And I never will forget that moment. My heart just sunk down into my chest. And it's just terrible. No one ever wants to go through that.”

For twelve years detectives with the Butte County Sheriff's Office worked the case.

Thanks to new DNA technology, Sgt. Jason Hail said they found evidence linking Markle to Pratt’s killing.  Markle is currently serving a 90 day jail sentence for a probation violation.  Now he will be charged with murder.

“People in the past that may not have cooperated that had information that have since changed their minds and came forward to share information they had from back then,” said Sgt. Hail.

Hail said Markle and Shirley Pratt were acquaintances.  He added they have an idea about a possible motive, but are not commenting on what that motive might have been.