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COA overturns bestiality conviction based on confession

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Although a Delaware County man admitted to sexually assaulting his roommate’s dog, the Indiana Court of Appeals overturned the man’s bestiality conviction Thursday because the prosecution failed to establish a corpus delicti.

In Andy Shinnock v. State of Indiana, 18A05-1606-CR-1258, Andy Shinnock was charged with bestiality after he admitted to having sex with his roommate’s dog. During roommate Paul Moore’s testimony at trial, Shinnock’s counsel objected to the admission of Shinnock’s confession to Moore that he had attempted to have sex with the dog because corpus delicti had not been established.

Defense counsel also objected to the admission of a recording of Shinnock’s confession to Moore, Moore’s 911 call and Shinnock’s confession to investigators on the basis of a lack of corpus delicti. The Delaware Circuit Court overruled the objections, but did grant the defense’s request for the record to show a continuing objection.

Shinnock was found guilty as charged but mentally ill, but the Indiana Court of Appeal reversed his convictions Thursday based on the defense’s corpus delicti claims.  

Senior Judge John Sharpnack wrote for the unanimous panel that the corpus delicti in the case would at least be a dog whose sex organ had been penetrated by the sex organ of a human male. But the only evidence against Shinnock, other than his confession, was Moore’s testimony that his dogs did not respond to him as usual when he returned home on the day of the alleged assault and that he found Shinnock wearing only a T-shirt and boxers that day, Sharpnack wrote.

Further, there was no evidence of that the dog’s sex organ had been injured, the judge said. Thus, because there was no proof of the crime of bestiality other than Shinnock’s confessions, the admission of that confession was error and Shinnock’s case was remanded to the Delaware Circuit Court.

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