Murder suspect claims his father was a robot and he had to destroy it

MITCHELL – Lawrence County Prosector Sam Arp released information on the arrest of Shawn Hays.

Shawn E. Hays

Shawn E. Hays, 53, of Mitchell, is facing charges of murder, aggravated battery, reckless homicide, domestic battery, battery, abuse of a corpse, criminal recklessness with a deadly weapon, obstruction of justice, and resisting law enforcement.

On December 20th, 2022, at 5:51 p.m., Lawrence County Central Dispatch received a request to conduct a welfare check on Rodney E. Hays at his residence located at 588 Easy Street in Mitchell.

The caller reported they had received a call from someone claiming to be Shawn E. Hays, Rodney’s son, who lives at this residence. Shawn told the caller his father had turned into a robot and he told the caller he had shot and mutilated the robot.

When deputies arrived, they found a male hastily attempting to exit the property in a silver Chevrolet pickup. Due to the nature of the call, deputies stopped the truck and encountered Shawn Hays with a shotgun in the seat next to him.

While one deputy was communicating with Hays distracting him, the other deputy was able to grab the shotgun from the truck.

When asked about his father, Shawn Hays said it was not his father living at the home but a robot that looked like his father. Shawn was asked where Rodney was, and Shawn told deputies Rodney was “laying over there” and gestured toward the residence directly behind the vehicle.

When asked to exit his vehicle, Shawn became verbally combative and refused to exit. During a verbal
exchange, he stated, “It’s a robot that looks like a human…laying over there. I had to shoot at it to
destroy it.” Deputies said Shawn’s body language and communication were very agitated and confusing.

Officers removed him from the vehicle as he actively resisted and he was placed into handcuffs.

Officers found Rodney E. Hays deceased in front of the residence. It appears he suffered gunshot wounds to his head and chest. His body was found to be mutilated and partially dismembered. The autopsy is pending.

When interviewed by investigators, Shawn E. Hays admitted to the shooting, mutilating, and partially
dismembering the robot, who looked like his father.

A search warrant was granted to investigate the crime scene. Detectives with the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department, assisted by an Indiana State Police Crime Scene Technician, processed the scene.

During the investigation, it was determined attempts had been made to destroy physical evidence.

This investigation is still ongoing.