Professor Dies In Friend’s Hot Tub, Prompting Him To Kill Himself And Her Boyfriend To Be Arrested

Clark Heindel and Marcus Lillard told deputies that Marianne Shockley died in an accidental drowning, but authorities believe she was strangled.

By Gina Tron

It's a case authorities are describing as simply "bizarre."

A Georgia man fatally shot himself after calling deputies to his home because a woman was dead in his hot tub. Another man at the scene, the woman's boyfriend, has been arrested in her death.

Marianne Shockley, 42, from Madison, Georgia, and her boyfriend Marcus Lillard, were at the home of 69-year-old former psychologist and yoga studio owner Clark Heindel in Milledgeville when the the two men called police at around 1 a.m. Sunday to report that Shockley had drowned in the hot tub.

Baldwin County Sheriff Bill Massee said Monday that responding deputies didn’t buy that Shockley, a University of Georgia professor, had drowned accidentally.

“They determined 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,” Massee said at a news conference.

Marianne Shockley

All three people at the scene were naked when deputies arrived, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Deputies separated the two men and interviewed them, according to a Baldwin County Sheriff’s office press release obtained by Oxygen.com.

“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.”

While Lillard was in a patrol car, "Heindel made his way back into his home. While unattended, Heindel committed suicide." He reportedly shot himself.

The sheriff's department has noted that a preliminary investigation indicates that Shockley's injuries are the result of a homicide. An official autopsy is pending.

Lillard was arrested and charged with murder by strangulation, concealing a death and aggravated assault, according to his arrest report. It’s not clear if he has a lawyer who can speak on his behalf at this time. Although his arrest report lists him as unemployed, Georgian outlet The Union-Recorder reports he's as a former car salesman.

Shockley was a professor of entomology at the University of Georgia, located in Athens.

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