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Prominent Detroit defense attorney Marlon Blake Evans' road to becoming a lawyer was not an easy one but it was a journey he took to bring justice to his community, said his wife and fellow attorney Nacole Evans.

"He always wanted to be a lawyer," said Nacole Evans. "He grew up in the city of Detroit and was one of few who made it out (of his neighborhood near Richton and Dexter) and succeeded greatly."

Mr. Evans died Wednesday, June 12, 2019, of pancreatic cancer. He was 56. 

Mr. Evans represented defendants in some of Metro Detroit's most high-profile criminal and murder cases, including the Noel Night shooting in 2017, the deadly O'Reilly auto parts shooting on Detroit's west side two years ago and the fatal shooting of Detroit rapper Dex Osama.

Raised in Detroit, Mr. Evans graduated from Central High School and attended Michigan State University, where he received his bachelor's degree. Afterward, Mr. Evans attended the Detroit College of Law, where he received his law degree.

"His journey to become a lawyer was not easy," said Nacole Evans. "He fell down a couple of times and got back up and finished law school. He never lost the desire to become a lawyer."

Attorney Todd Perkins, who practiced with Evans, said he was "so much more than a great lawyer."

 "Evans was a man who honored God, loved his family and served his clients," Perkins added. "As a friend, you were part of his family, and there was nothing that he wouldn't do for you. I cherish the moments that we shared, and our lives are richer because of him."

Attorney Cliff Woodards II said Mr. Evans, whom he met many years ago, was respected in the legal field and in Detroit's neighborhoods.

"He became a brilliant, tenacious lawyer who vigorously represented his clients in both state court and in the federal system throughout the country," said Woodards. "Marlon courageously fought his illness with the same zeal he did for his clients." 

 Attorney Arnold Reed said the loss of Evans "really, really hurts."

"(This) is going to be a great loss to our legal community in general but in particular to individuals who are accused of criminal offenses," Reed said.

"I've never seen a more fearless attorney. He never backed down from judges or other attorneys. He was a champion in the fight for all of his clients and those accused of crimes."

Nacole Evans said her husband used to host a Father's Day event for residents in the Dexter, Richton, Calvert and Linwood area as part of his giving back to the neighborhood where he grew up and attended school.

In addition to his wife Nacole, Mr. Evans is survived by his mother, Eula Evans; a sister, Rachana Wilson; four children, Lauren Evans, Naomi Evans, Marlon Evans II and Nicholas Evans; many nieces and nephews who considered him a father figure, other relatives and friends.

Arrangements for Mr. Evans were pending early Thursday but are being handled by the James H. Cole Homes for Funerals, 16100 Schaefer, Detroit.

bwilliams@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2027

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