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Convicted murderer returns to jail

by Andrew Maciejewski - amaciejewski@h-ponline.com

A Marion man, who was convicted of murder in Huntington County in 1982 and released from prison in 2013, was sentenced to a maximum term for sexual battery on Monday, according to court records.

Shawn Lynn Sills, 53, was sentenced on Feb. 4 to serve two years and 185 days in jail, after a two-day jury trial in January found Sills not guilty of rape but guilty of sexual battery compelled by force or threat of force, court records state.

On April 5, 1981, Sills was sentenced to serve 60 years at Indiana’s Department of Corrections, but he was released in 2013, according to Indiana Department of Corrections records.

According to Indiana Supreme Court records for the murder conviction in 1982, “The facts most favorable to the state show that the defendant was arrested for the murder of Mary Haines, an 82-year-old-woman. The defendant, then sixteen-years-old, entered the victim’s house, found her sitting on the floor, and beat her to death with his fists.”

Sills appealed the murder conviction, but the appeals court upheld, or agreed with, the court’s conviction, according to court records.

In October 2017, police responded to Parkview Huntington Hospital on a report of a distraught woman claiming Sills forced her into a bedroom after a night of drinking before pinning her down and sexually assaulting her, according to police reports.

Sills told police he came to the woman’s home to console her after she threatened to harm herself, but the victim denied inviting Sills to her home, according to police reports. When told of the allegation, Sills alledged the victim had falsely accused men in the past, saying there wouldn’t be any physical proof in this incident, according to police reports.

The father of the victim reportedly told police the woman admitted to him that she made up allegations against another man when she was younger, but police say the father believed that Sills assaulted her since Sills has allegedly been convicted of rape charges in the past, according to police reports.

Medical records reported by police stated the victim suffered from vaginal tearing. DNA samples collected showed it was “one trillion times more likely (the DNA) originated from (the victim) and Shawn Sills” than an unknown individual, according to police reports.

Police also seized red-stained sheets from the residence, according to police reports.

Upon reviewing the victim’s text messages, police say no conversations between the two parties existed. The victim said she probably deleted the messages but didn’t know why, according to police reports.