Crime & Courts

Anchorage mother sentenced to 50 years in prison for killing her 5-year-old son

An Anchorage mother was sentenced Thursday to spend about 50 years in prison for killing her 5-year-old son in 2020 and assaulting two police officers in the days leading up to the discovery of the child’s body.

Marley Marque, 32, was convicted by a jury last October on charges of first- and second-degree murder, manslaughter and third-degree assault.

During the sentencing hearing Thursday, family members of child Jobe Christensen described the deep sense of loss caused by his death, and described him as a loving boy who dreamed of someday working as a police officer to help others.

Marque was arrested on Nov. 20, 2020, after police responded to a gas station because she was reported to have been sleeping in her car, charges filed in the case said. When confronted by officers, Marque became aggressive and threatened them with a knife, charges said.

Marque’s son was already dead at home by the time she was taken into custody, Assistant Attorney General Rachel Gernat said during Thursday’s hearing. Police were contacted in the days after her arrest by one of the boy’s family members because they were concerned Marque was not responding to them, Gernat said. When officers forced entry into Marque’s home on Nov. 25, 2020, they found her son stabbed to death, Gernat said.

A central point of discussion in Thursday’s sentencing hearing was the state of Marque’s mental health around the time her son was killed. In the days leading up to his death, law enforcement had several encounters with Marque in which she appeared to be experiencing a mental health issue, officers noted in court documents. Family of Jobe Christensen also said she had acted strangely to them during that time. A forensic examination later diagnosed her with psychosis upon her initial incarceration, Superior Court Judge Peter Ramgren said Thursday in reference to a report filed in the case.

Marque’s attorney, Assistant Public Defender Saritha Anjilvel, argued that she should be sentenced to serve 30 years in prison — the minimum required amount of time to serve. Marque was an attentive mother who deeply loved her son, said Anjilvel, who also described the boy’s death as an undeniable tragedy.


Marque had no history of violence prior to the days surrounding her son’s death and she testified during trial that she was experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder at the time and wasn’t sleeping, according to Anjilvel. Marque has maintained her innocence and denies that she killed her son, Anjilvel said.

Prosecutors asked Ramgren to impose the maximum sentence of 99 years in prison, arguing that there was no evidence presented at trial of an official mental health diagnosis prior to the crime and that regardless, Marque’s killing of her son makes her a danger to others and is among the worst possible offenses. As a mother, Marque was entrusted to care for and protect her son but instead killed him, Gernat said.

The boy’s grandmother asked Ramgren to issue the maximum sentence for Marque, but also spoke about forgiveness. She said that in addition to losing her beloved grandson, she feels as though she lost Marque, who was like a daughter to her.

Ramgren sentenced Marque to about 80 years in prison, with 30 suspended. She was ordered to spend 10 years on probation after her release.

Anjilvel and Assistant Public Defender Keith Thomas said after the hearing that they plan to appeal the conviction.

[Correction: This story has been updated to correct Rachel Gernat’s title. Gernat is an assistant attorney general, not an assistant district attorney.]

Tess Williams

Tess Williams is a reporter focusing on breaking news and public safety. Before joining the ADN in 2019, she was a reporter for the Grand Forks Herald in North Dakota. Contact her at