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Who Is Marcus Lillard? New Details About Man Charged With Murdering His Girlfriend Marianne Shockley

Photo: Baldwin County Sheriff
Who Is Marcus Lillard? New Details About Man Charged With Murdering His Girlfriend Marianne Shockleylillard

This past Sunday around 1 a.m., University of Georgia professor Marianne Shockley was found dead and stripped naked outside a hot tub at her friend Clark Heindel’s house in Milledgeville, Georgia. Her boyfriend, Marcus Lillard, was there, too, and when he was taken aside by deputies to report what had happened, Heindel wandered into the master bedroom inside the house and shot himself dead. Who is Marcus Lillard?

I told you it was crazy. Now, what do we know?

1. The case didn't seem normal to the deputies

In a news conference on Monday, Baldwin County Sheriff Bill Massee shared that the scene looked “a little inappropriate as far as just a pure drowning incident due to some blood at the scene and the demeanor of the people at the scene.”

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2. The two men were found naked on the scene

Heindel, a former psychologist turned yoga studio owner, was performing CPR on her while Lillard spoke to the police. When she was pronounced dead, Heindel walked inside his house and killed himself. Officials are saying this isn’t necessarily an indication of guilt, though.

3. Lillard’s alibi is that he was out in the woods just before the incident

He said he was out there to gather firewood, according to the report. When he got back from the woods, he noticed Shockley “passed out” in the hot tub, so he pulled her out, but while moving her, he said he fell and hit her head.

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4. There’s evidence to suggest that Lillard waited two hours before calling 911

Also, the autopsy report on Shockley shows that she died by strangulation, not drowning. Accordingly, Lillard is being charged with 3 crimes: murder by strangulation of Marianne Shockley, aggravated assault and concealing a death. He did message and call friends of his asking how to resuscitate Shockley and tried to give her CPR because when the pulled her out she was still breathing, but still, two hours?

5. The sherrif called the case one of the strangest he’s ever worked

“I don’t know how to explain this to people who are not in our business, but when we first arrived at the crime scene, there was just something about it not right, and it was sort of a bizarre, different kind of case,” Massee said. “We had that conversation privately and [in] our law enforcement circle.” The deputies also weren’t buying Lillard’s firewood gathering story because, for one, it had rained heavily the day before so the sodden twigs and branches on the forest floor couldn’t have been good for a fire, and more importantly, there was already a large stack of firewood right near the pool.

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6. Marianne Clopton Shockley was deeply loved and widely respected.

The entomology professor died at 43. In her obituary, it was shared that for over a decade, she planned, organized, and taught UGA’s summer educational program, affectionately known as Bug Camp. She provided guided tours for graduates and undergraduates, and frequently introduced her campers to unique recipes involving insects like Rice Krispy treats with freeze-dried crickets and ChexMix with roasted mealworms. She was so excited about the role she thought bugs could play in eliminating hunger and food shortages while simultaneously increasing protein levels for individuals with metabolic issues.

The mother of two will always be remembered for her for being “jovial and full of light and laughter.” She leaves behind a multitude of people, family, friends, and community members alike.

Leah Scher is an ENFP finishing her degree at Brandeis University. She's an alumna of the Kenyon Review Young Writer's Workshop the Iowa Young Writers' Studio. She's passionate about Judaism, poetry, film, satire, astrology, spirituality, and sexual health. She draws inspiration for her writing from writer/director Wes Anderson, and for her lifestyle from her grandmother. Lastly, she's always actively seeking two things: a job having anything at all to do with publishing, and a chance to meet Jesse Eisenberg.