Andrew Marshall: Miami's Ted Kaczynski, Part 1

Read Part 2: Marshall's answer — build an arsenal of assault rifles and explosives.

It was nine days before Christmas 2003, but Andrew Marshall was already drunk. Dressed in jeans and a blue T-shirt, he had a whiff of homelessness about him. The 41-year-old sported a bushy beard, uncombed hair, and teeth yellowed by years of cigarette smoking. He lived on a 30-foot sailboat moored just off Dinner Key in a quirky community of washups and dropouts. But on this afternoon, he limped around Pier 7 with an oar in his hands.

Suddenly he swung the oar at a dock light. It exploded. He swung again and again. By the time police arrived, he had shattered eight of the lights, causing $900 in damage. When officers asked for his ID, Marshall said, "Fuck the City of Miami. Yeah, I broke the lights." Then he extinguished his cigarette on his own arm.

When cops ordered him to put his hands behind his back, he balled them into fists. Police tackled him and then pepper-sprayed him in the face. He spent three days in jail but avoided prosecution by entering an anger management program.

Andrew Marshall, in a mug shot from his arrest in 2003.
Miami-Dade Corrections and Rehabilitation Department
Andrew Marshall, in a mug shot from his arrest in 2003.

Four years later, authorities returned for Marshall. An unnamed source had called the FBI claiming he had become isolated and paranoid. The source questioned his mental state and called Marshall "the next potential Ted Kaczynski," AKA the Unabomber.

Feds raided Marshall's boat and storage shed. In this post-9/11 world, what they found must have scared the hell out of them: two AK-47s, a sniper rifle, 15 grenade casings, a rocket, scopes, four homemade silencers, enough chemicals to make six pounds of explosive black powder, and weapons manuals.

In court, prosecutors claimed Marshall was angry with city hall over several lawsuits he had filed. They also said he had made bomb threats and now had the materials to carry them out. Delayed for years by bizarre legal wrangling that probably cost taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars, a seven-day trial was finally held last month. On August 3, a federal jury convicted Marshall of illegally manufacturing firearms. He could be sentenced to up to ten years in prison come November.

Between the two arrests, Marshall went from being just another boat bum to a "danger to the community," according to Judge Chris McAliley, who denied him bail July 12, 2007.

But friends and family argue that the City of Miami, where Marshall had worked, pushed him too hard. He was already a sensitive soul with a leaning toward strange behavior. Bureaucrats denied him workers compensation, allegedly covered up an injury, and fought him in court. "He's no terrorist," says friend and former marina resident David Bricker. "They locked him up and got rid of six figures worth of lawsuits."

Marshall was born far from the dirt and grit of Dinner Key. His father was a wealthy corporate attorney with an office on Park Avenue in Manhattan. Young Andy attended Rye Country Day, a private school in leafy Westchester County, New York. He played baseball and tennis as a teenager but never grew beyond five feet seven inches and 135 pounds. "He was a peaceful guy and a good student," his father, Gordon, remembers.

But Andy wasn't interested in becoming a lawyer. He tried studying psychology in college but preferred working with his hands and dropped out. He taught himself how to sail in Long Island Sound. The ocean offered an escape from his sheltered upbringing, and Andy soon had his own boat.

By age 31, he had sailed south and settled in Fort Lauderdale. When Marshall moved to Miami in 2001, he parked his sailboat at the Anchorage, a now-defunct free mooring area in Dinner Key Marina. He fit in among the disillusioned hippies and Vietnam vets. He worked for Shell Lumber for a while before landing a maintenance job with the marina.

Things went wrong on just his third day working there. According to a lawsuit Marshall later filed against the city, he and another employee, Jorge Rivero, took a golf cart out to collect trash around the facility, which is next to city hall. Rivero stopped the cart to talk to Donna Bickle, a local who was walking her dog and pet ferret. As Marshall hopped out to collect trash, Rivero played with the animals. When Marshall returned to the cart, it lurched forward, stopping 18 inches from his foot. When he looked up, he saw the ferret on Rivero's head, the dog in his lap, and a grin on his face.

Marshall's lawsuit — which he wrote himself — reeks of paranoia: "Rivero was trying to get [me] to jump out of the [cart]'s way to 'impress' Mrs. Bickle," Marshall claimed. Then Rivero "smiled... look[ed] directly into Marshall's eyes," and struck Marshall with the cart. The collision allegedly twisted Marshall's right ankle, slammed him to the ground, and wrenched his neck, right shoulder, and back.

Though Rivero apologized, he then backed the cart over his injured co-worker's foot, the complaint alleges. Rivero later told his bosses the dog had caused the accident. Soon co-workers began teasing Marshall about being "run over by a dog."

Marshall insisted he was seriously injured, but his bosses assigned him the usual work of planting trees and construction. Then they allegedly ordered him to work in a basement by himself and told other employees not to talk to him.

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Dave Bricker
Dave Bricker

Sorry to see my very measured response removed from this article. You're right; one side of the story (yours) is enough.

Dave Bricker
Dave Bricker

Anyone concerned about this story should reread its dramatic opening paragraphs. Could this be anything but a fabricated reconstruction? He put his cigarette out on his own arm? Yeah, right. Maybe the police report says it? It must be true.

As for the "quirky community of washups and dropouts," I lived in the Dinner Key Anchorage while I finished college, paying my tuition by varnishing on the docks. I incorporated Miami's oldest web design firm in 1995 while living aboard, putting my income into my business and not into rent, bills and other down-the-drain expenses. I met more artisans, scientists, educators, writers and hardworking people in that anchorage than I ever encountered anywhere else. I wonder how the author would describe Calle Ocho or Overtown or Little Haiti? The perpetuation of cultural stereotypes is beneath good journalism.

I didn't know Andrew Marshall very well, and he certainly has to take responsibility for any illegal or disorderly behavior he might have engaged in, but the side of him I knew was brilliant, articulate and capable of keeping the city's experienced attorneys running in circles. The argument we worked on together on behalf of the anchorage, by the way, was quite explicit in its assertions that anchorage residents wanted to pay a fair fee for city services as they had from the late 80s until 1992 when the city claimed the showers under city hall were damaged by Hurricane Andrew floodwaters and never repaired. After being locked for over a decade, those same showers were offered up as working facilities only a few years ago when the waterfront master plan was being drafted. During the time of the anchorage service contract, over $50,000 in fees were collected from willing anchorage residents with zero enforcement required from the City.

The City's ill-planned mooring field cost $1.2 million dollars, half provided by the city and half provided by the state. Years after opening, it's at about 40% occupancy. Residents complain about the lack of services. Meanwhile, a community of people that has historically made repeated offers to pay for services anchors freely and legally outside the boundaries of the mooring field. Our principle argument was that the city never managed the anchorage before it had moorings in it. Why should they be entrusted to run a $1.2 million public mooring facility?

But back to Marshall, the description of Marshall's lawsuit is interestingly worded. Though the account of Marshall's collision with the City's golf cart is presented as a factual accounting, the word "alleged" is only used by Mr. Miller to connect the collision with Marshall's injuries, making it sound as if he might have injured himself elsewhere and blamed it on the City. This kind of victim blaming is not acceptable journalism, especially considering that the injuries are probably the most verifiable pieces of the story. Nobody ever alleged that Marshall injured himself elsewhere.

As for the post-firing pay change, I'm not legally qualified to draw fair conclusions about the evidence, but Marshall did show me a city document where his pay rate had been clearly crossed-out and changed. I have no reason to doubt its authenticity, at least based on the irrelevant grounds upon which our arguments against the mooring field were dismissed. These documents (the anchorage petition) are all matters of public record. Anyone interested in reading would have to wonder if the arguments Marshall and I drafted were ever read. Though we never argued that anchorage residents couldn't afford moorings, the dismissal assumed we were a "quirky community of washups and dropouts" and denied us a hearing, stating that our "economic" argument didn't give us standing to file a petition against the project.

Where this all started was with Andrew Marshall getting injured on city property. What he wanted was a fair hearing. His city-appointed lawyer got $40,000 but Andrew never got his hearing. Andrew went to the law library and quite capably began to press for his own rights. Remember, he wasn't trying to "get" anyone or exact revenge. He was a citizen with a grievance and a painful injury. He wanted the court system to consider his complaints; that's a reasonable and Constitutionally-guaranteed right worthy of pursuit. Instead of conducting a valid, journalistic investigation into Marshall's mountain of paperwork (admittedly hard work), Miller chose to cherry-pick from the fallout of Marshall's unfortunate indiscretions. Marshall has to own any of these that are true, even the ugly mugshot; but the failure of government to respond fairly is another part of the story that affects us all. Miller states that "government lawyers were battling to dismiss his complaints." Since when do government lawyers oppose the citizenry without being questioned by journalists?

I'm not really worried about this one; I don't own a gun and I have not so much as a parking ticket on my record. But Mr. Miller, I find your choice to mention my name in connection with both my employer and my acquaintanceship with "the next Ted Kaczynski" troubling. I suppose the sensationalism may sell more back page ads for gay transvestite escort services, but after offering up my time and my records to you, I'm disappointed that the New Times would treat willing sources of information with such disregard. The fallout from such contrived associations could only be negative. Perhaps there are journalistic forms of wandering around drunk, destroying things of value and ultimately putting one's cigarette out on one's own arm that are just as egregious? Certainly, I won't be talking to New Times reporters again. In fact, I made that call many years ago and regret rescinding the decision for you.

Though I won’t be painted as an apologist for anyone’s illegal or disorderly actions, neither will I stand silent while a story is bent and twisted into a caricature of truth. Though Marshall publicly and perhaps inappropriately expressed his profound frustration with the legal system on a public forum, he never hurt anyone or expressed an intention to. Marshall was a great advocate for due process and the US Constitution. He often helped poor neighbors with legal matters and had probably attained the knowledge and capabilities of a second-year law student through dedicated self-study. Though my arguments on his behalf do not excuse the ramifications of any compelling evidence gathered against him, I am confident that access to a fair trial many years ago would have mitigated any such concerns.

The crimes Marshall is accused of and failure to provide due process are legally disconnected matters, but only one of these important matters has been reported on here; a shame.

Dave Bricker


Best part of the story is to hear the the prick 'Rivero' is dead. Why is it that Latinos always want to create problems and drama? A DNA defect, I think.Hope this poor guy gets some justice soon dealing with all of the corrupt, dirtbag Latino politicians in Miami. Wish they would ALL just go back. I hear Ft. Lauderdale now has direct flights to Cuba! If only they didn't sell return flights.

Sir Sausage
Sir Sausage

Wow, how frightening - 2 AK pattern rifles and a "sniper" rifle!


I'm curious about him being convicted for "illegally manufacturing firearms." Guess I'll have to wait until next week to see if that is covered.


I am a Latina and I live in Miami. You are making very ignorant remarks. The better term would be "dirtbag politicians" without adding Latino into the picture. Politicians in general are corrupt, regardless of race. Don't pretend to know about things you obviously don't.

Also, if you want to make a compelling argument, back it up with more then a backyard, half-assed hypothesis about problems and drama being in Latino DNA.

harry nutzack
harry nutzack

the silencers... according to the classifications of the NFA34, a silencer is a "firearm" that falls into the same classification as full auto firing weapons (machine guns, and their relatives), and short firearms (barrels under 16 inches for a rifle, under 18 for a shotgun)... the grenade casings and filler, if enough components are available to make even one live grenade, would also fall under NFA34, for illegal manufacture of "a destructive device", a classification that includes modern rifles with bore of greater than a half inch, explosive devices, flame shooting devices, artillery, and similar devices that are designed to cause destruction on a larger scale than firearms... their are provisions for licensed ownership of all the devices regulated by the act, as well as for manufacturing any device regulated by the act.... the law was enacted to remove sawed off shotguns, and full auto weapons from the arsenals available to continue the "gang wars" for control of bootleg alcohol, and the various bank robbers of the time, or at least that's how it was "sold" to the public... until 1934, there were NO federal restrictions on type, number, or caliber of arms the public could own, and all could be mail ordered at will

Dick Hertz
Dick Hertz

I want to play this game too!!!!!

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