The death of a UGA professor has made headlines in Georgia since the middle of last month. Police arrived to a residence to find Marianne Shockley dead on the pool deck behind the house. Police immediately started their investigation and interviewed her boyfriend, Marcus Lillard, as well as the homeowner, Clarke Heindel.
Heindel fatally shot himself while police were conducting their investigation, and Lillard denied any wrongdoing, stating that Shockley had died from drowning in the hot tub.
However, autopsy reports have pointed to her possibly dying by strangulation. Lillard stated that both he and Heindel spent two hours before calling 911 attempting to revive the woman. Lillard has been arrested on charges of aggravated assault, concealing a death, and murder in Georgia.
As a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer, it is important for me to shed light on criminal offenses that most Georgians may not be aware of given the rarity of the charges. Most people are not aware that concealing the death of another human being is a serious criminal offense in Georgia. In today's post, I will outline the offense of concealment and outline the consequences if convicted.
Concealing a Death in Georgia
Concealing a Death in Georgia is defined by the Georgia Code in O.C.G.A. §16-10-31 as:
A person who, by concealing the death of any other person, hinders a discovery of whether or not such person was unlawfully killed is guilty of a felony and upon conviction shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than ten years, a fine of not less than $1,000.00 nor more than $5,000.00, or both.
People often believe that if they didn't do anything to conceal the body, then they are not guilty of a crime. However, not communicating with authorities and informing them of death is still enough to be convicted of concealing a body.
If convicted of concealing a death in Georgia, then a person is guilty of a felony offense. Georgia Felony Punishments have quite a range, and for this particular crime, an individual is facing up to ten years in prison as well as fines up to $5,000.
However, there are Georgia Criminal Defenses that may apply in the case of a wrongful accusation of concealing a death. Bottom line is that even police officers make mistakes, and you may have been arrested based on a misunderstanding or mistake.
If you or a loved one has been arrested, contact a Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney today. We understand that a person is not to be assumed guilty just because he or she has been arrested. Call now to discuss all of your options.