Whitewater man gets life in prison in attempted murder case
ELKHORN—As Larry Shannon was sentenced to life in prison for the sexual assault of a girl and abduction of two other children, he stared at the ceiling and smirked.
It was a demeanor not unlike what people saw during the four-day jury trial in February that resulted in the Whitewater man being found guilty of 12 violent offenses in October 2012. He was convicted of tying up two girls for hours after slashing their necks with a kitchen knife, sexually assaulting the oldest girl and leading law enforcement on a high-speed, two-county chase.
“The court believes justice would not be served unless this defendant is locked up for the rest of his life,” Judge David Reddy said Friday.
Reddy sentenced Shannon, 42, to life in prison with no chance of extended supervision for causing great bodily harm during the sexual assault of a child younger than 13. The charge carries a minimum of 25 years in prison.
For the remaining 11 convictions, including two counts of attempted first-degree intentional homicide, he was sentenced to an additional 145 years and nine months of confinement with 60 years of extended supervision.
Shannon's attorney, Edward Hunt, urged Reddy to use his discretion and consider making Shannon eligible for supervision after serving 25 years in prison.
“It is my belief that life sentences are required when someone has actually taken a life,” Hunt said.
Shannon faced a maximum of three life sentences and an additional 107 years in prison.
The October 2012 incident, described as horrific and gruesome throughout the case, lasted two days and ended in a car chase with speeds of 100 mph.
Shannon sexually assaulted the oldest girl, then 12, twice—once Oct. 27 after knocking her unconscious and another time Oct. 29—at the Whitewater home before slitting both of the girls' throats and leading authorities on the chase, Dan Necci, Walworth County district attorney, said during trial.
The cuts to the throats were nearly fatal, a doctor testified.
Shannon took a kitchen knife from a dining room table, slashed the oldest girl's neck then cut the youngest, then 10, in the neck and arm, Necci said.
Hunt argued during trial that Shannon didn't intend to kill anyone but reacted after being hit with a board by the youngest girl who saw her sister being assaulted a second time.
“I was just hoping I wasn't going to die," the now-14-year-old said in video testimony played during the trial.
Later Oct. 29, Shannon's now-ex-wife arrived home from work with a 6-year-old. Shannon strangled her and tied her to a chair in the living room using electrical cords, Necci said earlier. The woman escaped to call police just before Shannon fled from the home with two of the children.
The Whitewater incident is just one example of Shannon's violent past referenced Friday by Reddy and Necci.
Aggravated battery, rape and disorderly conduct were among the convictions dating to 1997 and spanning three states.
Reddy described the events of a 2000 Illinois sexual assault where Shannon threatened a woman with a weapon and raped her twice with one of her children in the same house.
“That's just one example of the history of undesirable behavior,” Reddy said, adding that the Illinois crime is “strikingly similar” to the Whitewater incident.
For his past convictions, Shannon was sent to prison but released early multiple times, Necci said.
Shannon did not testify during the trial, did not cooperate during a presentence investigation and did not make a statement Friday because an appeal is likely, Hunt said.
“He's shown no remorse,” Necci said, causing Shannon to laugh silently and shake his head.
Necci recommended life in prison with no chance of supervision.
“Grace is available to Mr. Shannon but not from the courts of man,” Necci said. “This defendant should never, under any circumstances, leave the confines of a Wisconsin state prison."
Reddy read a portion of the presentence investigation that stated, “If character is the moral or ethical structure of a person, Mr. Shannon is devoid of any character whatsoever.”
No victims were present at the sentencing Friday and no statements were read on their behalves.
When asked if he knew when the last Walworth County case to yield such a lengthy prison sentence was, Necci said he didn't know, and it didn't matter.
“He should spend the rest of his life in prison. It's as simple as that, Necci said.