Judge to sentence man in Michigan City murder

2014-03-19T19:00:00Z 2014-03-19T23:12:07Z Judge to sentence man in Michigan City murderStan Maddux Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
March 19, 2014 7:00 pm  • 

MICHIGAN CITY | While living in Gary, Charles Harper tried to mentor Marzono Shelly, attempting to help guide him.

Despite that, Shelly would end up in and out of prison.

After running into each other years later, Shelly murdered Harper.

Prosecutors are seeking 165 years in prison at Thursday's sentencing for Shelly, 36.

"He's probably one of the most violent people that have come through LaPorte County in a generation," LaPorte County Deputy Prosecutor Michael Bergerson said.

Harper, 73, a veteran, was a steelworker living in Gary and involved in assisting troubled youth when he met Shelly.

They were involved in activities like fishing.

But they'd go separate ways. Later, Shelly ended up in prison for violent crimes, including involuntary manslaughter.

Bergerson said Shelly was out of jail just 30 days when he ran into Harper on a South Shore commuter train. They got reacquainted in Michigan City where Harper was living. Just days later, in January 2012, Shelly shot his former mentor five times.

Shelly fled his Elston Street home in the victim's car along with his wallet and other items, including beer, police said.

Shelly was taken into custody later that day.

Shelly was convicted in August of murder, robbery, being an habitual offender and violent offender in possession of a deadly weapon.

Bergerson said he deserves the maximum sentence on each count, which is 165 years.

"Only one or two others even come close to the level of dangerousness of Mr. Shelly. Mr. Shelly has no conscience whatsoever. He's a sociopath," Bergerson said.

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