Julie Schenecker, center, is led into a Tampa, Fla., courtroom April 29 for the first day of jury selection for her trial. Shenecker is being tried for the Jan. 28, 2011, murder of her two children Calyx and Beau Schenecker, her 16-year-old daughter and 13-year-old son. (Jay Conner/AP)
TAMPA, FLA. — A military wife charged with killing her two teenagers wrote in her journal that she thought her children would inherit her bipolar disorder and that she was rescuing them from depression and mental illness, a crime scene technician testified Tuesday.
“I believed I’ve saved them from the pain,” Julie Schenecker, 53, wrote. “I wish this on nobody.”
Schenecker has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to two counts of first-degree murder. Police say Schenecker fatally shot Calyx, 16, and Beau, 13, in January 2011 while then-husband Parker Schenecker was deployed overseas.
Her defense attorney says she was a sick, troubled member of an all-American family, one who was sexually abused as a child.
On Tuesday, the trial’s second day, Tampa Police crime scene tech Matthew Evans continued to read Schenecker’s journal entries to the jury as a witness for the prosecution. The journal was found in the family’s home in an upscale suburb of Tampa.
Schenecker wrote of “going to heaven,” and she both apologized to and chastised Parker Schenecker.
“You didn’t teach the kids to be compassionate,” she wrote, describing how she had stayed in bed for seven weeks, with none of her family spending time with her. “Neither were you.”
“I sense divorce is inevitable,” she also wrote, according to Evans’ testimony. “I can’t live alone.”
Her writings show she intended to commit suicide by shooting herself, inhaling carbon monoxide or taking pills.
“I don’t believe I could ever recover or make up for my failures over the years,” she wrote.
Schenecker also wrote down the locations of her children’s bodies after they were shot — prosecutors say she shot Calyx at the computer and dragged the body into bed, and covered her up. Her son was shot in the car, and Schenecker tried to move his body.
“Beau is so cold and hard,” she wrote, according to the prosecution witness. “I wish I could put him in my bed. That’s where he slept happily. I just can’t lift him. I wish I could.”
If convicted, Schenecker could receive life in prison without parole. Prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty; they say they believe Schenecker’s mental health issues are so severe that the state Supreme Court would not uphold a death sentence.