MARIETTA - A local man lied about being stabbed by an unknown assailant earlier this month in Marietta, the Marietta Police Department said Wednesday.
While the two abdominal stab wounds were real, Scott A. Shankland, 43 and homeless, admitted to police this week that he had made up the tall, slender, dark-haired assailant and the drive-by stabbing scenario near Rigdewood Court he reported Oct. 3, police said.
In fact, Shankland stabbed himself for attention and will be charged with falsification, said Marietta Police Department Capt. Jeff Waite.
"He said he felt like the world was coming down on him and he did it to gain attention. It worked and he's got a pretty good slice up the middle of his gut," said Waite, referring to a scar Shankland has from undergoing surgery.
According to a press release from the Marietta Police Department, Shankland stabbed himself three times. The first try failed to penetrate the skin. The second try caused a shallow wound and the third a somewhat deeper wound.
The wounds, which police said Shankland now admits to inflicting with a paring knife, did not go deep enough to penetrate the abdominal wall. However, he underwent surgery to verify that no organs had been damaged.
Though Shankland refused to name a suspect, citing fear of retaliation, investigators with the Marietta Police Department found and interviewed a suspect the day of the stabbing, said Waite. They narrowed in on the suspect based on his appearance and connection to Shankland, said Waite.
"The suspect was interviewed. He had alibis, and he passed a polygraph test with flying colors," he said.
Police continued to question Shankland, becoming increasingly suspicious at his changing versions of the story.
Initially Shankland told officers a single Caucasian male assailant in a large gray car pulled alongside him while he was walking on Ridgewood Drive. He reported the male exited the vehicle, stabbed him twice, retreated to the car and escaped.
"It went from one guy to two guys to multiple assailants in the car," said Waite.
Shankland has been charged with falsification, a first-degree misdemeanor. He faces up to six months in jail on the charge.
Shankland's false report initiated an investigation that resulted in dozens of wasted man hours, said Waite.
"We had numerous hours in on this. We spent the initial day out there on the scene. We did follow-up the next day. We had time for a polygraph test. Officers talked to Shankland in the hospital. We searched for the knife," said Waite.
The paring knife, which Shankland disposed of in an area thick with briers, was not able to be recovered, he said.
Those who falsify reports can be court ordered to pay for the cost of the resulting investigation. However, as Shankland is homeless and indigent, it is unlikely any money would be available, said Waite.
Shankland had been staying with a relative in the nearby Ridgewood Court apartments when he stabbed himself.
Residents at the complex said the event did not cause any heightened sense of unease.
"I don't know of anyone being scared because of it. I was told by the ladies in the office that he didn't even live here," said resident Zach Cronin, 23.
Shankland had only been staying at the complex a couple days when the incident occurred, said Ridgewood Court manager Sandy Weckbacher.
"People didn't seem nervous afterward. It was so out of the ordinary that people seemed to know it was an isolated event," she said.
Weckbacher said the staff heard a rumor soon after the incident that Shankland might have made the story up and was not surprised by the news that he had stabbed himself.