Two Naked Men, A Dead Professor, And One Very Strange Case

  • And we may never know the truth about what really happened.

After a university professor was found dead, Georgia authorities describe an extremely bizarre case involving an alleged covered-up murder. Police arrested the professor’s boyfriend, Marcus Lillard, but the other man killed himself before investigators could question him.

Sydney Clark Heindel was the man who shot himself. But not before calling 911 around 1 a.m. Sunday to report the female professor was unresponsive after going underwater in the hot tub at his Milledgeville home.

Marianne Clopton Shockley was found bleeding heavily from a head injury, and was also unresponsive, and naked. Heindel and Lillard were performing CPR on the women and they were naked, too.

But she was declared dead by medical personnel shortly after arriving to the scene. The death wasn’t just a drowning due to the blood and the men’s demeanor, according to Baldwin County Sheriff Bill Massee.

“It’s one of the strangest cases that we’ve ever worked,” Massee said. “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 something about it that was not right, and it was just kind of a bizarre, different kind of case.”

Both men were separated, Lillard was in the back of the patrol car and Heindel was on the front porch. The deputy went to talk to Heindel but he was gone. He heard a “loud but muffled noise,” and found Heindel in the master bedroom, dead, from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Lillard was charged with murder, aggravated assault, and concealing the death of a murder. Lillard says that he was out collecting firewood when he came back and found the professor passed out in the hot tub. But deputies noted that there was already a large pile of firewood near the fire pit.

Heindel did talk before he shot himself, and said that he was swimming at the other end of the pool while Shockley was in the hot tub but that he rushed to her once he found out she was unresponsive. He said Lillard fell while carrying her and that’s how she got the head injury.

Apparently the men said she was breathing faintly and because of this did not call 911 until 45 minutes later, assuming she would regain consciousness on her own.

“On behalf of the university, I’d like to express our deepest sympathy to the family, students and colleagues of Dr. Marianne Shockley,” university spokesman Greg Trevor expressed in an email.

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