Appeals court affirms 'guilty but mentally ill' conviction for inmate who attacked officers
The judge sentenced the inmate to three additional years for an altercation he had previously described as "righteous"
By Rebecca Bibbs
The Herald Bulletin
INDIANAPOLIS — An offender who formerly was serving a 30-year sentence at Pendleton Correctional Facility has been unable to persuade the Indiana Court of Appeals that his participation in a melee with correctional officers was due to mental health issues.
According to a five-page opinion authored by Judge Leanna Weissmann, though a trial court found Matthew A. Shrock Jr. guilty but mentally ill in the Pendleton fight, it was not enough to conclude he was not guilty by reason of insanity.
"Shrock's account of his vigorous defense of a wronged friend supports the trial court's conclusion that Shrock possessed the necessary mental capacity to appreciate the difference between right and wrong at the time of the incident," Weissmann wrote in the opinion filed Feb. 8.
Shrock was serving a series of sentences that added up to about 30 years for battery, burglary and auto theft convictions out of Elkhart and LaPorte counties when he became involved in an altercation between several inmates and officers at PCF.
According to Indiana Department of Correction records, he now is serving all sentences, including those for his participation in the Pendleton fight, at New Castle Correctional Annex. His earliest release date is June 25, 2050.
Shrock, 30, was charged with three counts of Level 5 felony battery resulting in bodily injury to a public safety official. He pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
"At his bench trial, Shrock presented evidence that he had grave and untreated mental health issues at the time of the offense, including paranoia, sleeplessness, and post-traumatic stress disorder," the opinion said.
Madison County Circuit Court 6 Judge Mark Dudley appointed Drs. Carrie Dixon and Frank Krause to examine Schrock.
"Dr. Dixon testified that the prison fight had triggered a dissociative state in Shrock, during which he could not appreciate the wrongfulness of his actions. Dr. Krause disagreed," the opinion said. Krause diagnosed Shrock with anti-social personality disorder, which he did not consider a severe mental disease or defect, the opinion continued.
Prosecutors also produced as evidence a video in which Shrock described his participation in the altercation as "righteous."
Dudley found Shrock guilty but mentally ill and sentenced him to an additional three years in prison to be served consecutive to his other sentences.
With the expert testimonies in conflict, the opinion said, the decision regarding which to accept was left to the trial judge.
"Moreover, Shrock's interview the day after the altercation undermines his insanity defense."
(c)2022 The Herald Bulletin (Anderson, Ind.)