The Washington Times-Herald

State News

January 5, 2010

Spencer County man gets 50 years for ’08 murder

ROCKPORT — A Spencer County man was sentenced to 50 years in prison Monday for the murder of a 42-year-old Kentucky woman in August 2008.

Lonney D. Schroeder, 42, Rockport, was sentenced in Spencer Circuit Court for the murder of Sheila Renee Denson, Philpot, Ky., on Aug. 26, 2008. He had pleaded guilty to the murder Dec. 3, 2009, and, pursuant to a plea agreement, received a sentence of 65 years with 50 years executed at the Indiana Department of Correction.

Schroeder was an acquaintance of the victim whose body was found by a Spencer County farmer in early September 2008. An autopsy by the Medical Examiner’s Office at the University of Louisville concluded Denson died from ligature strangulation and multiple traumatic injuries to her head and neck.

Denson’s remains had been discovered behind a barn in a Spencer County farm field outside of Rockport. Fingerprints and tattoos were used to identify the body of the 5-foot-5, 115-pound woman.

Schroeder, then 41, was arrested Sept. 4, 2008, by police who had discovered he was friends with Denson. Her body was found on property maintained by Schroeder’s father. Indiana State Police said Schroeder initially denied involvement in the murder when interviewed a day after the body was discovered. He confessed in an interview the following day, after being confronted by detectives about inconsistencies in his story.

Those inconsistencies included surveillance tape from a Newburgh liquor store showing Schroeder purchasing beer, later found at the crime scene, at a time when he claimed to have been at work, according to Spencer County Prosecutor Daniel R. Wilkinson. Detectives also later retrieved a recorded telephone call made by Schroeder from jail in which he told his wife he had committed the murder.

Denson was survived by her parents, three daughters and two brothers. One brother and one sister read victim impact statements in court. The victim was described as a fan of NASCAR’s Jeff Gordon, the NFL’s Oakland Raiders and the University of Kentucky’s basketball team. She was said to have enjoyed boating, camping and spending time with her daughters. Wilkinson said his thoughts and prayers were with Denson’s family as the case was brought to a close.

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