Shoen, whose body was discovered on the staircase of her two-story log home the next morning by her two young children, was 44 when she died.
Marquis was sentenced to 24 years in prison in November, 1994, when he pleaded guilty to killing Shoen, who was shot in the back with a .25 caliber pistol, just a few hours after her husband, U-Haul heir Sam Shoen, left on a business trip to Phoenix, where the billion-dollar family business is headquartered.
Colorado Department of Corrections Director of Public Relations Katherine Sanguenetti confirmed Marquis’ release, saying he has been in the New Mexico prison system since 1997. Marquis, whose earlier bid for parole was denied, was released early for good behavior.
‘Unsolved Mysteries’ Led to a Break in the Case
Marquis was arrested not quite a year after the Shoen case was featured on the television crime show, Unsolved Mysteries, on Dec. 2, 1992.
That airing led to a break in the case, when Marquis’ brother-in-law called the San Miguel County Sheriff’s office from New Mexico. The brother-in-law, who said Marquis had bragged about killing Eva Shoen, went on to collect a $250,000 reward offered by Sam Shoen for information leading to a conviction in his wife’s murder.
Extensive follow-up police-work turned up a single strand of Eva Shoen’s blonde hair, found on part of a decayed T-shirt north of Santa Fe, on a stretch of highway Marquis traveled after Shoen’s murder, leading to Marquis’ arrest and subsequent confession.
Came to Rob Homes
Marquis came to Telluride during the Telluride Jazz Festival with former San Miguel County resident Jeff Beale, his coworker in a New Mexico car-repair shop, intending to rob homes, said Sheriff Bill Masters. While scouting for targets in the Ski Ranches, he spotted Shoen through a window in the family’s relatively modest Skunk Creek Rd. home, Marquis would confess four years after committing the crime, and broke in.
Masters believes it was more than a robbery. “‘I'm convinced he was there to commit a sexual assault,’” Masters told Westword reporter Alan Prendergast in 2002, despite Marquis’ claim that Shoen’s death was the accidental result of a robbery turned deadly.
Masters’ comments in 2002 suggest the convicted rapist expertly plea-bargained his way to a manslaughter conviction.
“‘He refuses to make a statement until he gets a plea bargain for 24 years,” an indignant Masters told Westword, “and then he gives us this bullshit story that he broke into the house to steal things and walked up the stairs to a lit bedroom – something a burglar would never do – where he was surprised to find this woman.”
Today, Masters is even more succinct: “He went in there to rape her,” he said, and then killed Shoen as she tried to fight him off.
Masters is also adamant that there is no truth to the rumors that have swirled, over the two decades since Shoen’s murder, that she was killed because of well-documented and longstanding family feuding over control of U-Haul among the 12 Shoen siblings, of whom Sam Shoen is the eldest.
“It was random,” Masters insisted, in a telephone conversation last week. “She happened to be home, and [Marquis] happened to be going by.
“It was his identical [modus operandi] in the ten other rapes he committed that we know of,” Masters said.
“He’s a serial rapist and possibly murderer,” Masters said of Marquis, “and he’s definitely a murderer, in our case.
“He admitted it.”
Marquis will be living with a relative in Roswell, N.M. Shoen is buried at Lone Tree Cemetery.