43-year-old Marianna Shockley died this past weekend amid a strange tale that has produced few answers as to what actually happened. The account of the incident does not add up for investigators, especially after one of the two other people at the home where she died, shot himself because of what transpired.
The Baldwin County Sheriff’s Department received a 911 call early Sunday morning just before 1 a.m. When deputies arrived on the scene at the home of 69-year-old Clark Heindel, they discovered Shockley lying outside the hot tub, with a wound to the head. Heindel was attempting CPR on Shockley. The third person at the residence was 41-year-old Marcus Lillard, Shockley’s boyfriend. All three persons at the residence were nude; police are unsure why.
When deputies questioned Lillard, the were told he was retrieving wood from the nearby trees. While Heindel reported that he himself had been in the pool and did not realize she was unresponsive in the hot tub. Lillard reported that upon his return, Shockley appeared unconscious. He and Heindel claim they began CPR, and that the wound on her head was caused by Lillard falling when attempting to pull Shockley from the tub. They claimed they had been performing CPR for approximately 45 minutes before calling 911.
Deputies immediately questioned the story they were receiving. The saw the head wound as questionable and they also observed there was already firewood nearby, obviously gathered previously based on Lillard’s story. Because of this, the two men were separated to be questioned separately.
While deputies were continuing to investigate the scene, Heindel somehow slipped inside the home. There was a gunshot and deputies entered and found Heindel dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He had left a note saying, “he couldn’t live with the embarrassment associated with the professor’s death at his home.”
According to the autopsy report, strangulation was ruled as the cause of death. Authorities believe that Lillard was responsible for Shockley’s death. The report also showed that Shockley had been dead longer than the 45 minutes claimed by the two men. Lillard claims innocence in her death.
The investigation is still ongoing, as the case is difficult to piece together, especially after Heindel’s suicide. Sheriff Bill Massee said, “We can’t really document exactly what happened. We do know from the phone calls and all that they had reached out to several people, had sent out group texts to try to get help.” Lillard is currently being charged with aggravated assault, concealing a death, and murder.