Elkhart man loses Indiana Supreme Court appeal of murder conviction

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(Photo supplied/Elkhart County Sheriff's Department)

An Elkhart man’s appeal of his murder sentence was denied by the Indiana Supreme Court.

28-year-old Michael Shoun asked for a new sentence because he claimed he had an intellectual disability. However, the court noted that even his own attorneys didn’t think he could show that disability in court and dropped their claim. The court cited “the severe nature of the crime and Shoun’s character” as reasons for rejecting the appeal, according to a court document.

Shoun stabbed Tiana Alter and mutilated her body at his home near Elkhart in November 2013. Authorities say Shoun and the victim were high on synthetic marijuana at the time.

A jury convicted Shoun after deliberating for two hours on Dec. 2, 2015. Jurors recommended a sentence of life without parole, which he got a month later.

Chief Deputy Prosecutor Vicki Becker says synthetic marijuana is a problem in Elkhart County. Becker says the prosecutor’s office and police have cracked down on several stores in the city of Elkhart that sold synthetic marijuana.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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