Julie Schenecker was accused of murdering her two children, 16-year-old Calyx and 13-year-old Beau, on January 27, 2011. Just after that she sent a horrifying email to her husband telling him to “get home soon” because “we’re waiting for you.” Retired Army colonel Parker Schenecker was on deployment in the Middle East at the time.
Closing statements in the case were issued without Julie Schenecker being called to the stand in her own defense.
Thursday evening, the jury found Schenecker guilty. It took them less than two hours to come to the verdict. The jury consisted of eight men and four women, mostly parents. They rejected the insanity defense. Schenecker received a sentence of life without possibility for parole.
Originally, prosecutors intended to go for the death penalty. They changed their plans due to the belief that the Supreme Court would not uphold the decision against Julie Schenecker due to her severe mental health issues.
The 53-year-old, Julie Schenecker, has spent a good portion of her life dealing with bipolar disorder.
One of the jurors, Cheri Kendall, was reported to have told the Tampa Bay Times that the jury read the journal belonging to Julie Schenecker and that it held proof of premeditation and knowledge of wrong-doing.
“We had some discussions on how do you really know what is going on through someone’s mind, but we kept coming back to what the law states constitutes insanity,” Kendall said. “Being mentally ill is not the same as being insane.”
After the sentence was read by Hillsborough Circuit Judge Emmett L. Battles, Julie Schenecker proceeded to make a relatively strange speech:
“Your honor, I’m prepared and I accept your sentence. I apologize to everybody in this courtroom who I have broken. The lives I have destroyed. I hope that they can collect themselves as best as possible. All of us… Everyone has been so deeply affected and I understand there are people who are affected by this, that may have just read in the paper, maybe a child who looked at their mommy and said ‘mommy are you ever going to shoot me?’ I know that this could have happened and I apologize for what happened, what I did. I take responsibility. I was there. I know, I know I shot my son and daughter. I don’t know why, but I have a period of time to try and understand that…”
Julie Schenecker went on to talk about how she knew her children were in heaven and that they would be waiting there for all their loved ones.
“Jesus is protecting them and keeping them safe until we get there,” Schenecker said.
[Image courtesy of Tampa Bay Times ]