Aaron Marr

Aaron Marr (Courtesy KCCI)

Aaron Michael Marr


Aaron Michael Marr
37 YOA
210 S. Second Street
Ames, IA
Story County
September 22, 2007


Case Summary compiled by Jody Ewing

Aaron Marr, 37, died Saturday night, Sept. 22, 2007, after suffering several stab wounds to his back and neck in his Ames, Iowa, apartment.

At approximately 9:53 p.m., Ames police received a call for an ambulance assist regarding a man with a neck laceration. Officers found Marr after arriving at the 210 S. Second St. home.

Story County in Iowa
Story County in Iowa
Ames in Story CountyAmes in Story County

Marr, still conscious at the time, had come to the door and told first responders he knew who’d attacked him but that he wasn’t going to say any more.

“I’ll never tell,” he told Chad Lovig, one of the responders.

Marr died while being transported to Mary Greeley Medical Center without ever having named his attacker or attackers.

In Marr’s home, officers found small bags of marijuana in a bedroom as well as a white powdery substance (believed to be cocaine) on the back of the toilet, and the murder quickly shaped up as a drug-related killing.

Marr’s roommate, Steven Cross, told investigators he’d been home asleep that night but woke up when he heard someone enter the apartment. After hearing a scuffle, Cross said he entered Marr’s bedroom and found his roommate had been beaten up. Other than that, Cross reported he’d neither seen nor heard the assailant.

According to an Ames Tribune article published June 4, 2011:

Cross told police he and Marr had used a cell phone earlier that day to arrange to buy some crack cocaine. Cross overheard part of the conversation, in which someone named “P.J.” was supposed to come over at around 9 p.m. to make the delivery. “P.J.,” Cross said, had been at the house earlier in the day about the buy.

Cross later identified Ralph W. Ellis (P.J.) based on a photo, and when officers searched Marr’s cell phone they discovered a call made to a number saved as “P-Rock.”

The cell also showed calls made to a woman, Christine Cornwell, who told investigators she’d been talking with Marr on the phone around 9:30 p.m. but had hung up because someone had just arrived at Marr’s apartment.

Both Cornwell and one of Marr’s neighbors identified Ellis — who went by the names “P.J.” and “P-Rock” — based on a photo.

Ellis lived with his family at 715 Wilson Ave., but when police interviewed him about the phone call to “P-Rock,” Ellis said the number belonged to his girlfriend, Shirina Hayes, who’d been out of town at the time. While Ellis acknowledged having possession of Hayes’ phone for about a week, he denied having had any contact with Marr — in person or via phone — for the past week.

Tribune reporter Luke Jennett also stated in the June 4, 2011 story:

Ellis said that the day of the murder he had been with Terrance Jenkins most of the day. He said that over the course of the day, he and Jenkins had gone to the Lincoln Center Hy-Vee and had also ridden a CyRide bus. Investigators got the surveillance tapes and confirmed the two were together at Hy-Vee at around 7:40 p.m., and rode on the bus together at 10:08 p.m.

Armed with a search warrant, police confiscated Ellis’ cell phone as well as clothes and shoes from both Ellis and Jenkins. The case stalled out shortly thereafter.

Ames Police Cmdr. Jim Robinson told the Tribune the case is reviewed periodically and is open, even though the department had no new information to report. But, Robinson said, “A case of this nature is never closed.”

The month after Marr’s murder, Ellis and Jenkins were involved in an Ames carjacking. After striking plea bargains with prosecutors in 2009, both received 10-year sentences. Ellis’ release date was scheduled for Sept. 21, 2012.

Jim Robinson, Commander Ames Police DepartmentCourtesy photo Nirmalendu Majumdar/Ames Tribune
Cmdr. Jim Robinson retired from the Ames Police Department on April 1, 2013, after serving nearly 34 years with the department.

A $2,000 reward has been offered for information leading to an arrest in the case.

Cmdr. Robinson retired from the Ames Police Department on April 1, 2013, after spending nearly 34 years working for the department.

In an Ames Tribune story published March 29, 2013, the 55-year-old Robinson said he had seen much during the time he spent in Ames, from the rise of methamphetamine and the first Veishea riot to harrowing murder cases.

Ever since high school, all he’d wanted to do was make a difference in the world.

“I figured this would be the way to do that,” Robinson told Tribune reporter Mike Malloy. “And I knew every day would be something different.”

Robinson had his conscience shocked more than once, but even three days before handing in his badge and gun, he vividly recalled the stunning violent crime wave that swept through Ames in mid-2007 through 2008, calling it “unprecedented in terms of the serious, violent crime.”

Aaron Marr got swept up in that terrifying sequence of events.

The unsolved cases are always on your mind,” Robinson told the Tribune’s Malloy. “You just hope someone will eventually come forward.”

About Aaron Marr

Aaron Michael Marr was born September 19, 1970, in California.

He died three days after his 37th birthday.

Information Needed

If you have any information regarding Aaron Marr’s unsolved murder, please contact the Ames Police Department at 515-239-5132.



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10 Responses to Aaron Marr

  1. Prayers sent to the family someone comes forward.

  2. Obviously the roommate knows more than he’s telling…this happened in the next room!!! I guess Aaron was too afraid to tell who’d done this to him which I understand but that guy would be in jail right now for murder instead of running the streets very near my hometown of Boone. (about 15 miles from Ames, the big city)

    • Ryan cross says:

      The roommate was my brother Steven cross who passed away in 2012 from a drug overdose he told the cops everything he knew ..that p rock guy did it they just didn’t do good,police work

      • Candice says:

        The thing is Ellis “p rock” has an alibi at 7:40 he was at Hy-vee with someone by the name of Terance Jenkins and then at 10:08 he was see getting on the bus with that said person.

        • FormerIowan says:

          210 S 2nd St and the Lincoln Center Hyvee are a 10 minute walk from each other. CyRide runs all along Lincoln Ave which runs parallel to S 2nd, one block North. The attack happened between 9:30p and before 9:53p when the police were called.

          That is more than a big enough window of time for Ellis to go to HyVee at 7:40p and get on a bus a block away at 10:08p

  3. Theresa says:

    Drugs are a good friend when seriously addicted. I originally thought female, but the damage seemed male. I say female side of a gay friendship. He loved this person or he would have told.

  4. Lori says:

    I wonder if Ellis was released… How does not revealing a cold blooded Killer translate into covering for a good friend…?

  5. Theresa says:

    People who know who did it, but don’t want to tell are protecting a good friend.

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