Delaware reservist cleared of rape charges

January 10, 2008 6:25:59 PM PST
An Army reservist was cleared of rape and other felony charges but convicted of lesser counts of indecent assault.

A jury deliberated for nearly five hours Thursday before finding Sgt. Robert Shackelford Jr., 46, of Dover, Del., not guilty of rape, sexual assault and aggravated indecent assault charges. The panel convicted him of two indecent assault charges.

Shackelford, a member of the 233rd Quartermasters Company based in Philadelphia, was accused of raping a 22-year-old Army Reserve private in a men's barracks in March. He had been charged with rape, sexual assault, and aggravated indecent assault.

President Judge Robert J. Eby tentatively set sentencing for Feb. 27 but said it would probably be postponed because the conviction requires a Megan's Law evaluation.

"I wish he would have been cleared of everything," defense attorney Erin Zimmerer said. She said Shackelford faces a minimum sentence of between three and 14 months and could be sentenced to time already served.

Shackelford had been in Lebanon County prison since his April 17 arrest. He was being held on $100,000 bail, an amount that Eby cut in half Thursday.

Assistant District Attorney Megan Ryland-Tanner said she was disappointed but respected the jury's decision.