A man convicted of holding a Greenwood woman at knifepoint and raping her repeatedly will still spend the rest of his life in prison, despite an appeals court reducing his sentence by 105 years.
Judge Mark Loyd sentenced Shawn Corbally to 270 years in prison after a jury found him guilty of eight felony charges, including rape, burglary resulting in bodily injury, criminal deviate conduct and criminal confinement. The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld the conviction but determined the sentence given by Loyd was inappropriately large compared with similar cases.
The court reduced the sentence to 165 years. Corbally, 35, still will spend the rest of his life in prison, Johnson County Prosecutor Brad Cooper said. The sentence, even at its reduced level, is still the longest sentence on record in Indiana given to a person convicted of rape, Cooper said.
Cooper doesn’t agree with the reasoning the appeals court used to reduce the sentence but is satisfied because Corbally will never be released from prison. He intends to appeal the case to the Indiana Supreme Court in an effort to prevent the state from referencing this case as a legal precedent for reducing sentences for other criminals.
“The impact of the crime was horrific, and it will never leave her. So the end result was to convict him and
remove him from society for the rest of his existence so he can never do that to another person again,” Cooper said.
The appeals court also determined that Loyd erroneously allowed a Greenwood detective to provide some testimony relating statements made by the victim the day after the incident after the defense objected that they would be hearsay. But the mistake was deemed harmless to the outcome of the trial, according to the opinion by the appeals court.
Judges Michael Barnes, Elaine Brown and Margret Robb all agreed on the hearsay issue, but Robb disagreed with the decision to reduce the sentence without providing an additional opinion. The appeals court is the second-highest court in the state and is responsible for reviewing the decisions of county courts regarding proper practice of the law, whether defendants received adequate representation by attorneys and sentencing decisions made by judges.
On July 29, 2012, police said, Corbally broke into a Greenwood woman’s apartment about 4 a.m. and threatened her with a knife, forcing her to perform sex acts for about two hours until the sun began to rise.
Corbally raped the woman while her 1-year-old child was asleep in the bed and her 9-year-old was asleep in another room. Corbally also forced her to perform sex acts on a patio at her apartment and outside near a jogging trail and repeatedly threatened to hurt her or her children if she didn’t continue.
Corbally had been sentenced as a juvenile for rape and was convicted in 2000 for two additional rapes. He was released from prison five months before the Greenwood incident after serving less than half of a 25-year sentence.
Corbally’s attorney Mike Kyle argued to the appeals court that the 270-year sentence was disproportionately large when compared with convictions for other people with lengthy criminal records for sexual assault cases.
“It was about 100 years out of line with what anyone had received for anything comparable,” Kyle said.
The court’s decision includes examples of rape cases with large sentences, and those people generally were sentenced to between 90 and 150 years. The appeals court did agree that Corbally’s actions were deserving of one of the state’s longest sentences on record, calling the crime “heinous” and making note of his pattern of committing rapes.
“Clearly, Corbally is a threat to society; and for the sake of public safety, he must be incarcerated for a very lengthy period of time,” according to the court’s decision, which was written by Barnes.
Corbally’s 270-year sentence resulted from the consideration of the main aggravating factors, such as his criminal history and the circumstances of the rape he committed in Greenwood, Loyd said.
“I looked at each of the crimes and determined what the sentence would be individually and didn’t set a number. They just happened to come up with 270,” Loyd said.
Loyd said he is indifferent to the decision because ultimately Corbally will remain removed from the public. He said the most important part of any appeal is that the conviction is upheld, which it was in Corbally’s case.
“That’s the primary issue on whether the person is guilty or not guilty,” Loyd said.