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O-6 will divorce wife accused in kids' killings

Feb. 18, 2011 - 12:44PM   |   Last Updated: Feb. 18, 2011 - 12:44PM  |  
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TAMPA, Fla. The Army officer husband of a Tampa mother accused of killing their two children said he went to the jail Friday to tell her he wants a divorce.

It was the first meeting between Col. Parker Schenecker and his wife, Julie, since her Jan. 27 arrest on charges that she planned and carried out the killings of their 16-year-old daughter, Calyx, and 13-year-old son, Beau. She told detectives she did it because the children were talking back and being "mouthy," according to a Tampa police spokeswoman.

In a statement sent to reporters Friday, Parker Schenecker said the meeting with his wife was "emotional and productive," but he did not go into detail about their discussions. He said the meeting "focused mostly on how so many people continue to honor and remember the lives of Calyx and Beau."

"I felt it was important and proper to inform her in person about my need to focus on the future, and my intention to file for divorce," the statement said. "Clearly the events of January 27th have taken Julie and me on different paths."

A family spokeswoman said Parker Schenecker would have no further comment on the meeting.

A search-warrant affidavit filed with the court said police officers conducting a welfare check had found Julie Schenecker, 50, unconscious on the back screened porch of their upscale north Tampa home, with dried blood on her white robe.

The bodies of Calyx and Beau were found in the house. Police said she had written a note detailing plans for the "massacre" and her suicide.

Julie Schenecker told detectives she had shot her son twice in the head in the van for talking back while she drove him to soccer practice the previous evening. She said she returned home and killed her daughter with two shots to the head while the girl sat at a computer doing homework. She then apparently moved her to a bed and covered both bodies with blankets.

Both teens were killed with a .38-caliber pistol, which authorities say Schenecker bought five days earlier. Her husband, a military intelligence officer, was on duty in the Middle East.

Records showed that the family had been in counseling, and police were called to investigate an abuse claim after Calyx told a counselor her mom hit her on two occasions. A state child welfare worker who investigated wrote in a report that the children apparently were in no danger at home.

Julie Schenecker pleaded not guilty to two counts of first-degree murder on Wednesday. Prosecutors have not said whether they will seek the death penalty if she is convicted.

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