DOC: #932249 Black Male
St. Joseph County Superior Court
Judge William T. Means
Prosecutor: John M. Maciejczyk,
Michael J. Tuszynski
Defense: Philip Skodinski, James
Date of Murder: September 14,
Wayne Shumaker W / M / 59 (No relationship to Stroud)
Corby Myers W / M / 30 (No relationship to Stroud)
Lynn Ganger W / M / 54 (No relationship to Stroud)
Method of Murder: Shooting with
Summary: Wayne Shumaker, Corby
Myers, and Lynn Ganger were building a loft in a pole barn at an
upscale home Lakeville, Indiana when Stroud and 3 men from Detroit (Wade,
Carter and Seabrooks) came to burglarize the house.
After one of the workers came out of the barn,
Stroud decided they needed to be killed because he may have seen the
license plate on their car. Instead of fleeing the scene, they went
to the barn, where Stroud ordered the men tied up and robbed.
Stroud then shot each victim in the head with a
Tech .9 mm semiautomatic handgun. Stroud and accomplices then
returned to the home to finish the burglary.
In statements later given to police, Stroud
claimed that his only role was as a lookout and that he was not
involved in the killings.
Another accomplice, Ronald Carter of Detroit, has
testified that Stroud was the shooter, as did 2 friends of Stroud
who said Stroud admitted to them he shot the workmen. The men were
told about the house, the valuables in it, and how to bypass the
burglar alarm in order to get in, by 18 year old Charity Lynn Payne,
who had once dated a member of the family.
Payne cooperated by testifying at trial and later
received 151 years imprisonment. Wade received 55 years and Carter
45 years. DNA from dog feces found outside the house matched the DNA
in feces on the Nike athletic shoes police took from the apartment
of Stroud's girlfriend.
At the time of the murders, Stroud was released
on bail for charges of Dealing in Cocaine, for which he was later
convicted on 01-16-02 in the St. Joseph Superior Court and sentenced
to terms of 50 years imprisonment in Cause # 71D08-9907-CF-0414, and
20 years imprisonment in Cause # 71D08-9907-CF-0410.
Conviction: Murder (3 counts),
Burglary, Robbery (2 counts), Attempted Robbery
Sentencing: September 4, 2002 (Death
Sentence, Death Sentence, Death Sentence, 20 years, 20 years, 20
years, 20 years - Consecutive)
b (1) Burglary, Robbery; b (8) 3 Murders
21 years of age.
Disadvantaged childhood; Rarely saw father.
Mistreated by Mother's boyfriends.
Abandoned by Mother.
Caring towards younger half-brother.
Emotional hardship on family and friends.
Stroud v. State, 809 N.E.2d 274 (Ind. May 25, 2004).
Convictions Affirmed 5-0; DP Vacated 5-0
Opinion by Sullivan; Shepard, Dickson, Rucker and Boehm concur.
(DP vacated on grounds that jury was improperly instructed that
verdict was only a “recommendation.” Remanded for new “penalty and
sentencing phases. Rucker and Boehm concurred with separate opinion,
noting that “accordingly” in new statute does not compel Judge to
follow jury recommendation for death)
05-24-05 Citing a severe breakdown in the attorney-client relationship,
lead defense attorney James F. Korpal allowed to withdraw.
For State: Frank Schaffer, James Fox, Deputy Prosecutors
07-11-05 Stroud entered a guilty plea pursuant to a
Plea Agreement and was sentenced by St. Joseph County Superior Court
Judge William T. Means to Life Without Parole, and consecutive
sentences of 20 years (Burglary), 20 years (Robbery), 20 years (Robbery),
20 years (Attempted Robbery).
The bodies of Wayne Shumaker, Lynn Ganger, and
Corby Myers were found on the afternoon of September 14, 2000, in a
barn on the property of Arthur and Theresa Sears in Lakeville,
Indiana. Shumaker, Ganger, and Myers had been building a loft in the
Searses’ barn. They were found lying face down on the barn floor,
their hands tied behind their backs with duct tape, and all had died
from gunshot wounds to the head. On September 18, 2000, the State
charged Phillip A. Stroud, approximately age 21 at the time, with
three counts of murder; three counts of felony murder; one count of
burglary, a Class A felony; and three counts of robbery, all Class B
At trial, the State’s main evidence against
Defendant consisted of testimony from others involved in the incident,
ballistics testimony, and shoeprint testimony. According to some
witnesses, Phillip Stroud, Tyrome Wade, Kerel Seabrooks, and Ronald
Carter went to the Searses’ residence with the intent to steal from
the place. They learned about the Searses’ residence from Charity
Payne, a former girlfriend of the Searses’ son. Ronald Carter, who was
also charged for the crimes and testified pursuant to a plea bargain
with the State, said that Defendant shot the three men.
It appeared that four bullets had been fired, but
it could not be determined conclusively whether all of the bullet
fragments found at the scene were fired from the same gun. It is
possible that the bullets were fired from an Intratec Tec-9 gun.
Ronald Carter testified that Defendant carried a Tec-9 gun.
Shoeprint marks were found on pieces of lumber
inside the barn, and they could have been made by a pair of Nike shoes
taken from the apartment of Defendant’s girlfriend when he was
arrested. These same Nike shoes had some debris on them, which was
compared to debris at the crime scene. A carpet fiber found on the
shoes had the same class characteristics as carpet from the Searses’
home. The Nike shoes also had animal feces on them, and an expert
testified that the feces on the Nike shoes and the feces from the
ground at the crime scene were likely from the same animal.
The defense did not put on any witnesses during the
guilt phase of trial.
The jury found Defendant guilty of three counts
murder and three counts felony murder, which the trial court merged;
one count burglary, a Class B felony; two counts robbery, Class B
felonies; and one count attempted robbery, a Class B felony. After the
penalty phase of the trial in which the defense presented evidence of
mitigating circumstances, the jury recommended that Defendant receive
the death penalty. Judge Means, in his sentencing order, stated that
he believed Indiana’s amended death penalty statute required him to
follow the jury’s recommendation. If he were not so constrained,
however, he said he would “be inclined to judicially override the jury
recommendation for death.” (Appellant’s App. at 642.) He sentenced
Defendant to death for each of the murders and to 20 years for each of
the other four counts.
Phillip A. Stroud