Advertisement

You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

Doctor: Mom accused of killing kids was insane

May. 12, 2014 - 12:31PM   |  
Julie Schenecker talks with attorney Jennifer Spradley on Tuesday, prior to the start of day two of her trial in Tampa, Fla. Schenecker is accused of killing her two children Calyx, 16, and Beau Schenecker, 13 in 2011.
Julie Schenecker talks with attorney Jennifer Spradley on Tuesday, prior to the start of day two of her trial in Tampa, Fla. Schenecker is accused of killing her two children Calyx, 16, and Beau Schenecker, 13 in 2011. (JAY CONNER / AP)
  • Filed Under

TAMPA, FLA. — A woman accused of shooting her two teenagers called herself “a failure” because she didn’t succeed at committing suicide after killing her children, a psychiatrist testified Monday.

Dr. Eldra Solomon testified in the trial of Julie Schenecker in Hillsborough County Court. The doctor was called to the stand by the defense team, which is trying to prove the 53-year-old was insane in January 2011 when she shot her 16-year-old daughter and 13-year-old son.

Schenecker is charged with two counts of first-degree murder. The state is not seeking the death penalty.

Solomon told the jury that she reviewed all of Schenecker’s medical records and spent some 20 hours with her following the slayings.

She detailed how Schenecker was molested by a neighbor when she was 7, and how she had thought about suicide since she was 12 — and tried to commit suicide twice. Schenecker had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder with psychotic features on many different occasions, by several doctors, throughout her life.

Schenecker irrationally thought she had a brain tumor, that her daughter was also bipolar and that her son would be molested, the doctor said. She also talked for months to her therapist about wanting to get pregnant at the age of 49 — and give up the baby for adoption.

Solomon said “sane people don’t kill their children.”

“I think without a doubt she was insane at the time of the shooting and during the week prior to the shooting,” she said.

Moments before killing Beau in the family’s minivan, Schenecker noted a pile of laundry on the washing machine and told herself that she needed to wash Beau’s soccer uniform for an upcoming game.

“Here’s a woman who’s about to kill him and it doesn’t make sense,” said Solomon. “She’s psychotic.”

While cross-examining Solomon late Monday morning, prosecutors pointed out that in some records from 2011, nurses and doctors saw no signs of psychosis. Prosecutors have said Schenecker wrote plans for the killings in a journal and bought a gun days before the slayings.

Solomon also testified for the defense that Schenecker went off her medication in the six months prior to the shootings and then went on a “downward spiral” of depression and psychosis.

Solomon said Schenecker intended to kill herself after shooting her kids. She had a three-part plan, Solomon said: sit in the car and breathe carbon monoxide, take pills and then shoot herself. After shooting her children, Schenecker reloaded her gun and then took the pills — but the pills knocked her out for the night.

“She said she was very angry at herself because she failed,” Solomon said. “She was very upset because she didn’t succeed at killing herself.”

Schenecker awoke the next morning in the family’s home, groggy and shaky. Officers arrived soon after — Schenecker’s family had called police and asked them to check on her because they were worried about her mental health.

While interviewing Schenecker in jail, Solomon said the military mom fluctuated in lucidity. At one point, she was angry that she couldn’t attend her children’s funeral. At another point, she thought her children were still alive.

On Friday, Schenecker yelled, “Liar!” at another psychiatrist who was testifying that he had told her not to drink while taking drugs to control her bipolar disorder.

Judge Emmett Battles immediately stopped the hearing, ordered the jury out and admonished Schenecker, telling her she would be restrained if she had another outburst.

Answers sponsored by RallyPoint

Join trending discussions in the military's #1 professional community. See what members like yourself have to say from across the DoD.

More In News

Start your day with a roundup of top defense news.

VA Home Loan
Rates

Search By:

Product Options:
Zip Code:

News for your in-box

Sign up now for free Military Times E-Reports. Choose from Money and Education. Subscribers: log in for premium e-newsletters.


This Week's Air Force Times

This Week's Air Force Times

Top TA & GI Bill schools
Most popular colleges cater to troops by taking classes to them

Subscribe for Print or Digital delivery today!

Classifieds
MilitaryTimes Green Trusted Classifieds Looking to buy, sell and connect on Military Times?
Browse expanded listings across hundreds of military installations.
Faces of valorHonoring those who fought and died in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
hall of valorThe Hall of Valor is a searchable database of valor award citations collected by Doug Sterner, a Vietnam veteran and Military Times contributing editor, and by Military Times staff.
Woman who cried rape
(3 replies)
   Last Post: TJMAC77SP
        May 3, 2014 1:32 PM
   Last Post: garhkal
        May 1, 2014 5:03 PM
Cliven Bundy
(45 replies)
   Last Post: Chief_KO
        Apr 26, 2014 9:49 AM
Handbooks

All you need to know about your military benefits.

Benefits handbook

Guard & Reserve All you need to know about the Guard & Reserve.

guard and reserve handbook