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Felony Murder, et al.
Images & Transcript

ADA Malcor in the courtroom looking at the defendant

ADA Malcor 

Marcus Lillard is closely followed by a law enforcement officer as he walks towards the bailiff in the courtroom
Mr. Tucker with is hands crossed in front of himself as Marcus Lillard walks through the courtroom towards a door, followed by a law enforcement officer

Marcus Lillard leaving the courtroom as Mr. Tucker looks on

Marcus Lillard being taken to serve his jail sentence for a probation violation

Transcript: Season 2, Episode 12

Felony Murder, et al.

ADA Malcor closes for the state and Judge Burleson disagrees with the jury's verdict during the probation revocation hearing.


defendant, jury, lillard, marianne, choking, shockley, evidence, verdict, sex, guilty, case, aggravated assault, killed, felony murder, death, clark, crime, probation, talk, indictment


ADA Malcor, Penny, Judge Burleson


Penny  00:00

Hi I'm Penny Dearmin. This is season two, Blood Town on Trial.


Penny  00:20

ADA Malcor closes for the state. She begins, And still I go. I know he isn't right for me. And still I go


ADA Malcor  00:37

The victim's very private words found only after her death. And the only reason they're public now is because they were tragically prophetic. The defense counsel just stood up here and said no one ever said that the defendant ever hurt Marianne or put his hands on his neck on her neck. Well, that's not true. That's not true, because for one thing, the defendant said in his interviews that he had tried choking her, she didn't like it. So he certainly had put his hands on her neck before and she didn't like it. Do you think that stopped them? Now that you know about the defendant, do you think the fact that Marianne Shockley did not want to be choked by him would have had any significance to him that night at all?


Penny  01:38

ADA Malcor says, no, no. Let's talk about the defense in this case, because it's been a lot of different things, hasn't it? The defendant started off saying no way Clark did this. No way he could have done it. He's He's a respectful guy. He's a little old man. He was smaller than Marianne. She could have fought him off. 


ADA Malcor  02:09

And I was only in the woods right there picking up sticks. I would have heard a commotion. I didn't hear anything. There's no way Clark did it.


Penny  02:18

She says that went on for about 38 minutes. Agent Maybin says Listen, Clark killed himself at the scene. Less than 60 seconds later, well, Clark killed her. He killed her.


ADA Malcor  02:32

And more recently, no, no, no way. No way Clark couldn't do it didn't do it. It's a natural death. Look up Whitney Houston, natural death. That's what happened with Marianne, same thing that happened with Whitney Houston. Then now he's apparently seen the medical examiner testify. He realizes Okay, okay. All right. Yeah, Clark actually did do this. And so my favorite defense so far, the defendant would have killed her better. If the defendant had been the one choking her, which is basically what his counsel just said he would have broken that bone. He would have really just choked her. So it had to be the other guy, old guy. He's too weak. He can't choke her as well as the defendant would choke her. Those are the defenses. Okay. The defendant, ladies and gentlemen, is a liar. And he has been lying From the moment he realized that Marianne was dead. Remember his statement he made yesterday. You heard it yesterday in the interview, you can call me a lot of things. But a liar ain't one of them. Spoiler alert. That was a lie. He lied every time he opened his mouth. He lied about whether they went drugs that night or used drugs. He lied about where they went that night. Now in the first interview, he hasn't mentioned anything about going to this rental home on sweet gum road or trail to get those murals. The GBI got the phones Marianne's phone, they look at where people went their locations. And so the next interview, Agent Chandler's in there, she's like, tell me about the sweet gum address? Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, went to sweet gum to get these murals to get these murals for my son. And then suddenly that's the reason we went over there. That's the reason we went over there. So I had to drop off these murals.


Penny  04:31

ADA Malcor says the judge is going to tell you what to take into consideration but you get to decide the credibility of witnesses. You decide who to believe or not. You saw the witnesses come in all week and face you and face the defendant. Do you think they were lying?


ADA Malcor  04:55

Well, the liar in this courtroom is the defendant. That's all he's done.


Penny  05:01

She says, Do you think these women wanted to testify to talk about their sex life? No, I'm sorry about that. I am. I have talked to them and told them how sorry I am that they had to come in here and talk about this, but that's what they had to do.


ADA Malcor  05:24

Because they know who the defendant is. He chokes women, not all of them thought that was a bad thing. And I even brought in women who liked them. They smiled at him. He's a good guy, but some of those women didn't like it. And they certainly didn't want to be here and talk to you about it. And I am so sorry that they had to do it. But you want to know something you want to know who doesn't want to be here? Marianne's family. They don't want to be here. They want to be at home with their sister, their daughter, their mother. That's where they want to be.


Penny  06:10

She says, so yeah, I'm the one who brought those women here. And they did not want to come here. She says those women are important because there were three people there that night. Two of them are dead. One of them was strangled to death. And one of them liked to strangle women, one of them. And that's why women came in here to talk about their sex life with Clark Heindel. As far back as we could go over 30 years, he didn't like to strangle women wasn't interested in rough sex. Even recently, one of his partners said he was very gentle. ADA Malcor says And let me tell you about Witness A.


ADA Malcor  06:58

she cracked this case. On Sunday morning. 24 hours before the autopsy was done on Marianne Shockley. Upon hearing, that the defendant was with a woman who died. His girlfriend. She said, Oh my God, I bet he choked her. He did that to me. She knew the cause of death before the medical examiner saw the body. She knew the cause of death before any law enforcement officer knew what had happened. She told the truth. And she spoke for Marianne. She was the first person to speak for Marianne to tell us what Marianne could not. The defendant is over there on the phone, calling her a slut. She's a sloth and I treated her like a slut. And that was a phone call to his mother. That's how he talked to his mother. I treated her like a slut; I didn't choke her, I don't know who's recording this phone call. I mean, I didn't choke her. But I treated her like a slut. Now monm, let's pray. Yes, Mr. Lillard, you did treat her like a slut. And that's why she was able to tell this jury exactly who you are. A man who hates women. And you can tell that by how he talks about them. And that letter he wrote. He says, I never hurt anyone. Not even sluts during sex.


Penny  08:42

She says he likes to control them. He likes to choke them. But he doesn't like them. The judge is going to explain to you what Reasonable Doubt is, it's based on reason and common sense. What does your common sense tell you about the night out there on Watson Reynolds road? Does your common sense tell you after all these years of being a respectful, kind, peaceful man who has never shown any interest in choking women, that he suddenly became a monster that he suddenly shape shifted into the sort of man like the defendant, that he drugged the defendant in the hopes that he would pass out or go bury himself in the woods, so he could have his way with Marianne? That while the defendant is off in the woods, doing whatever he's supposed to be doing. That Clark climbs into the hot tub with this woman and chokes her. Suddenly he's the one who likes choking. What is your common sense tell you you about that, that it's absurd. That's not what happened. 


ADA Malcor  10:06

Just because he may have been looking at porn or someone was earlier that night, and maybe it was Clark, Gosh, people look at porn on a computer. It doesn't turn them into killers. I mean if it does, watch out, man. [Laughing by spectators].


ADA Malcor  10:23

Okay. That scenario is just as absurd, as the defendant saying over and over and over again, that he and Marianne did not have sex, that night in that hot tub


Penny  10:40

she says, let's talk about ecstasy. It's supposed to make everything you're feeling more intense. It's known to be used for sex. The defendant and his girlfriend take ecstasy, and they don't get to see each other that often. Marianne told her sister when they do get together, they have a lot of sex since they don't see each other very often. The defendant says the last time they had sex was on Easter. The defendant had the biggest dose of ecstasy and then they get in a hot tub naked. After drinking all day.


ADA Malcor  11:19

Now ladies and gentleman, Are you kidding me? What do you think happened next? You got in that hot tub naked on ecstasy and said, Oh my god, I gotta get some firewood. Where are the sticks?


Penny  11:30

That's not what your common sense is telling you. Your common sense is telling you that they had sex. And what does the defendant like to do when he has sex? He likes to choke women. Maybe he likes to choke women so he can have sex. Maybe that's how the defendant gets an erection. Maybe that's how he keeps an erection. Remember, he told a witness to bring Viagra lol when she couldn't get ecstasy. Now, the defense wants you to believe there's no DNA there. So there's no sex. 


ADA Malcor  12:13

Maybe there's no DNA because the defendant didn't finish. Because maybe as he is having sex with Marianne in the hot tub, he chokes her too much. And she loses consciousness and she dies. And maybe that's why he can't finish. And the reason we don't have any DNA is because she's in a hot tub. Like he cannot admit that he has sex with her. Because ladies and gentlemen, that is when Marcus Lillard killed Marianne Shockley. So that can't happen, because he's gotta deny that they've had sex. And when he realized that he's in the hot tub with his dead girlfriend, [slaps hands together] he's in the woods.


Penny  12:57

And then the defendant didn't call 911. The defendant called all kinds of people but not 911. When you're asking yourself why Clark didn't call 911. The defendant had his phone. I'm sure Clark wished he called 911. The defense wants you to focus on the wet clothes. What does that have to do with anything? Look at the three DNA tests. They're all inconclusive. It's a smokescreen. Mr. Tucker asks, Did you get any fingerprints off the shovel? She didn't get killed with the shovel. What are we talking about? The Alexa? That really cracked the case for you didn't it? There was nothing on it. They did play Bob Dylan's Desire, like the defendant said, ladies and gentlemen, that's about the only thing he told the truth about. The defendant is a liar. He's a man who hates women who abuses them. He's a predator.


ADA Malcor  14:07

You heard some of those women. He exploited them at their lowest points. Oh, you just got out of the hospital trying to kill yourself? Come with me. Marianne, questioning herself. Why do I do this? I know he's not right for me, but still I go. He did say something. I'm sure you all heard it yesterday. And they're questioning Mary Chandler and Maybin are questioning him why don't why don't you remember anything you don't remember anything? You remember this where you don't remember that? And the defendant said that I ain't never had my girlfriend die in my hands before. In your hands?  But you said over and over and over again. She was dead. When you found her in the hot tub. If she's dead when you found her in the hot tub. She didn't die in your hands. But if you're choking her during sex, and you kill her, she damn sure did.


Penny  15:10

ADA Malcor says you'll have the indictment when you go back. The defendant is charged with counts one and two, felony murder and aggravated assault. felony murder means you cause the death of someone without intending to kill them during the commission of a crime, aggravated assault. And when you're choking someone and it results in strangulation that's aggravated assault. So it's the act of choking that the defendant has intended to do. That's what he's guilty of. Counts three and four are involuntary manslaughter and reckless conduct. reckless conduct is the crime that he committed when he caused the death for it to be involuntary manslaughter. But don't even worry about that, because the defendant told you over and over and over and over again in his statements to the police and his phone calls and in his letters. I'm guilty of that. If there's a crime for not getting her help, not calling 911, I'm that, I did that. So you don't even need to waste any time talking about that. It sounds like; he admits it. I don't know why Clark heindel killed himself. None of us do. Maybe it was easy to jump to conclusions when the EMTs and law enforcement first got there, but the evidence doesn't support it. He was a kind man. He was a peaceful man. And he was a sad man.


ADA Malcor  16:56

Three people were there that night. Two of them are dead. One of them was strangled to death. The defendant chokes women. Marianne Shockley was beautiful. She was intelligent. She was beloved. And she deserved better than Marcus Lillard. And I only wish she had known that. And believed that about herself before she got in that car that day and drove to Milledgeville. Still I go. The defendant is guilty. Tell him you know it. Tell her family, you know it. And return a verdict of guilty.


Penny  17:50

Judge Burleson reads the indictment to the jury. She says the defendant has entered a plea of not guilty. Neither the indictment nor the plea should be considered evidence.


Judge Burleson  18:03

The defendant is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty. The defendant enters upon the trial of the case with a presumption of innocence in his favor. This presumption remains with the defendant until it is overcome by the state with evidence that is sufficient to convince you beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty of the offense charged. No person shall be convicted of any crime unless and until each element of the crime is proven beyond a reasonable doubt. burden of proof rests upon the state to prove every material allegation of the indictment and every essential element of the crime charged beyond a reasonable doubt. There is no burden of proof upon the defendant whatsoever. And the burden never shifts to the defendant to introduce evidence or to prove innocence. A reasonable doubt means just what it says. A reasonable doubt is the doubt of a fair minded, impartial juror honestly seeking the truth, a reasonable doubt as a doubt based upon common sense and reason.


Penny  19:03

jury instructions and stipulations go on for about another 25 minutes before they're sent back to the jury room. They're told to elect their foreperson and not allowed to deliberate until the indictment and evidence is delivered. Most of the people leave the courtroom at this time while the media stays. [Whispers into microphone] I really want to go to my truck and get my cell phone charger. And everyone tells me if I do that the jury will come back immediately. It's late on Friday, and I'm wondering at this point, could they possibly come back with a verdict tonight? Will this go into the weekend? And those people that with a lot more experience than me say you never want to Be the defendant who's jury is sent out on a Friday afternoon because everyone wants to go home. And that's exactly what happens. We're not sitting in the courtroom very long before we hear there's a verdict and probably by the time the jury got the indictment and the evidence, they deliberated for about 20-25 minutes,



As to count one felony murder, We the jury, find the defendant not guilty; as to count to AGG assault we the jury find the defendant not guilty. As to count three involuntary manslaughter. We the jury find the defendant not guilty as to count four reckless conduct We the jury find the defendant not guilty.


Penny  20:50

 After the four not guilty verdicts are published, the judge excuses and thanks the jury for their service. And we move on to the probation revocation hearing


Judge Burleson  21:05

I was sitting as the fact finder on this probation revocation case at the same time as the jury. And I listened to the evidence considered all the same evidence, listen to the opening arguments and closing arguments in the case. And Mr. Lillard, I've come to quite a different conclusion than what the jury has come to. It is quite clear to this court, that the only person you're concerned with that night may 11 2019, was herself. And for that reason, I do find that the state has proven by a preponderance of the evidence, the crimes that are listed the subsequent offenses that are listed in this probation petition. And so I do find by preponderance of the evidence that you violated probation in the manner alleged in the petition. I am gonna revoke your probation for the balance of this sentence, which runs through October 15 2030. You'll have to do whatever that that the parole board orders you to serve. And I'll just tell you, because this was an actual contested revocation hearing, you have the right to file a discretionary appeal if you wish. And you have to do that within 30 days of today's date, the order will be entered today. If you wish to file any sort of habeas corpus petition you have to file that within four years of the date that your sentence is final in this court and I do need to remind you, you are still in lawful confinement. So if you escape or even attempt to escape, you can be charged with those crimes and those are punishable by additional time that the prison time you're getting. You're under the control of the sheriff, Sir. Good luck to you.


Penny  22:57

Let's stop for a minute and feel what just happened in the courtroom. The Shockley family waited almost three years for a trial, sat here every day, all day, for a week. The devastation is palpable. Even though on the other side of the courtroom, Marcus Lillard and his mom might feel relief, he remains in prison for violating his probation. I can't imagine this is the justice the Shockley family was hoping for. Some of the women who testified likely felt re-victimized as well. In this season, you have heard all of the major evidence and testimony presented at trial and likely have your own opinions about whether Marcus Lillard is guilty or not guilty. I'm not here to say who's right or who's wrong or second guessthe jury's verdict at all. So many people involved in the case have information and experience that support their beliefs, much of which was not presented as evidence at trial. What might be true and what can be proven in a court of law are not the same thing. This is something I want to address in a future episode. When people ask me, What do I think of the verdict? I say that all verdicts are shocking, but I was still surprised. I have long ago rejected that ideal that justice is possible in the system as is. I don't think the prosecution proved their case beyond a reasonable doubt for felony murder and aggravated assault. I stated in a previous episode that I found the testimony of the prior sexual partners to be credible. So this is not about their credibility whatsoever, but about a system that has historically refused to prosecute assault and sexual battery cases. This same system then turned around and tried to use the same evidence as proof that aggravated assault took place. If any of the witnesses would have reported the same testimony at any other time, it's unlikely any charges would have been filed. And the hypocrisy was not lost on those present. Why does it take a pool of our blood or hemorrhages on our neck before they intervene? When will the stories told by the living count as much as those of the dead? As far as involuntary manslaughter and reckless conduct, Perhaps the jury believed that defense's argument that Marcus Lillard acted responsibly when contacting respiratory therapists and EMTs and that it wasn't a gross deviation to not call 911. From a legal perspective, if a person willfully ingests drugs, they are responsible for their actions on said drugs and cannot use that as an excuse for illegal acts. Marcus Lillard wrote in his letter that he chose to take the ecstasy. This statement was in direct contradiction to his prior musings that Clark had dosed them with something. Even if he was high, he's responsible for his behavior that the law deems unreasonable. Most, not all, reasonable people would call 911. If they encountered an unresponsive person, I understand that you could justify not calling 911 If you were high and on probation, but that doesn't mean it's not reckless. More than one thing can be true at the same time. The same system that put Marcus Lillard on trial also failed to institute penalties and provide appropriate rehabilitation for drug crimes he had committed from the time he was a teenager. Drugs are the inciting incident of this tragedy, and I want to keep everyone alive, so consume and kink responsibly, folks. Consent has to be obtained in advance, my friends. Not saying no, does not equal Yes.


Penny  27:59

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