Merrillville teen gets 30 years in killing of special ed teacher
By Ruth Ann Krause Post-Tribune correspondent June 28, 2012 3:04PM
Royal Marshall. | Provided Photo~Sun-Times Media ptmet
Updated: July 30, 2012 6:27AM
A stoic Merrillville teen was sentenced to 30 years in prison for voluntary manslaughter in the brutal slaying of an 80-year-old special education teacher.
Lake Superior Court Judge Salvador Vasquez gave Royal Dushan Marshall, 17, three opportunities to speak at his sentencing hearing. It wasn’t until after defense attorney Eric Clark had said his client had sorrow for the victim — something the judge said he saw no evidence of — that Marshall issued an apology “to the family, the court system and everybody. I know what I did was wrong.”
Schulz’s family did not attend the Thursday sentencing hearing.
Marshall was 16 when he killed Anna Schulz in her home in the 2500 block of West 58th Place, Merrillville. He admitted in court he went into Schulz’s home with the intent to hide from police, who had been alerted to a possible burglary on July 6, 2011, at Marshall’s mother’s home in the 6400 block of Taft Street, Merrillville. Once inside the residence, Schulz began screaming after Marshall startled her. Marshall then grabbed a knife and cut Schulz on the neck. He admitted he killed Schulz while acting under sudden heat — anger, rage, resentment or fear.
Both Clark and deputy prosecutor Kathleen O’Halloran said they felt the plea agreement was in the best interest of all concerned. “This plea was not arrived at lightly,” O’Halloran said.
Vasquez acknowledged that the state’s case was circumstantial, with no physical evidence such as DNA or fingerprints to link Marshall to the crime.
Testifying on Marshall’s behalf was his first-grade teacher, Angelica Dominguez, who said when she first met Marshall she saw an angry child but felt he flourished as she tried to teach with patience and love. She transferred to second grade so she could again have Marshall in her class, but he missed the last few weeks of school and Dominguez said she learned he had been removed from his home. When she learned of Marshall’s arrest, “I felt like I failed him,” she said. Dominguez said she left the teaching field as a result, but still has faith that Marshall can change.