The double-murder trial of Julie Scheneker got underway on Monday in Tampa, with jurors hearing a crime scene investigator read the chilling journal entries that Scheneker penned in 2011, before and after killing her two teenage children.
After shooting them both in the head for (in her own words) having assumed an overall “sassy” attitude toward their ex-military mom, who’d spent a decade in uniform before a mental-illness discharge, Scheneker described shooting both of their lifeless bodies in the “mouthy mouth.”
“Offed Beau in the van,” she wrote, describing how she’d first killed her 13-year-old son on the way home from soccer practice. “Next shot was to the mouth, his mouthy mouth.”
According to the Tampa Bay Times, jurors then heard her description of sneaking up behind her 16-year-old daughter, Calyx, who’d reportedly given her the highest degree of insubordination. Calyx, who Scheneker originally stated would “be first” to die, was doing her homework and asked Scheneker why she was there. She told her daughter that she was just checking in, then, after telling her “I love you,” Scheneker killed her daughter in the same way she’d just killed her son; with a shot to the back of the head, and then a shot right into her lifeless mouth.
After killing them, she wrote: “Beau and I are going to heaven. Wish heaven for Calyx too.”
Though this hints that Scheneker had planned to kill herself after killing her children, police found her laying drunk on her patio the next day, according to People. She was wearing a blood-stained robe.
Scheneker’s defense team hopes to convince the jury that she is not guilty by reason of insanity: “This is a tale of two mothers,” defense attorney Jennifer Spradley said during opening arguments. “She was sick. She battled depression. The disease transformed Ms. Schenecker’s life.”
She went on to describe how Scheneker had been molested at six and sexually assaulted at 17. Another hit to her fragile psyche: Scheneker had wanted to have a half-dozen children when she left the military with mental-health problems, but her husband had a vasectomy after they’d had two. She also suspected that her husband, Army Col. Parker Schenecker, wanted to leave her. (He did divorce his wife, but not until right after she’d killed their only children.)
“It tore her to her soul,” Spradley told jurors. “A mother and former soldier lost her battle with chronic mental illness. It took everything from her, including her children.”
Prosecutors say Scheneker acted too methodically to be granted an insanity ruling, pointing again and again to the plotting she’d written about in the journal and spoke about when interrogated by police. No matter how much attitude she’d been getting from her children, prosecutors and police say they can’t fathom how that could ever equate to a double homicide.
Right after the deaths, according to an Inquisitr report, Tampa Police Department spokeswoman Laura McElroy said that Scheneker “did tell us that they talked back, that they were mouthy. But I don’t think that will ever serve as an explanation to the rest of us of how you could take a child’s life.”
In her journal, Scheneker wrote, “I was planning on a Saturday massacre,” but that the Oldsmar gun shop where she’d bought a revolver made her steam through the required three-day wait. This, prosecutors say, shows a calculation that’s the very definition of premeditated murder.
In the audio clip below from her initial police interview, Scheneker says that the cocktail of anti-psychotic drugs she’d been taking, including Lithium, had spared her life.
After admitting to shooting both her children, she adds, “I was going to shoot myself, but I fell asleep.”
[Images courtesy of Murderpedia (top) and WTSP]