Thirteen-year-old Beau Schenecker was being driven home from soccer practice by his mother on Thursday last week, like so many other Thursdays. His world suddenly came crashing to an end when his mother, 50-year-old Julie Powers Schenecker, allegedly delivered two blasts from a .38-caliber handgun into her son’s head at point blank range, thus ending his young life.
With her 13-year-old son dead in the front seat beside her, Schenecker returned to the family’s upscale Tampa, Florida, home. She then allegedly shot her 16-year-old daughter Calyx in the head and in the face while the teen studied at her computer in her bedroom. Schenecker later gave the reason for the killings; the teens were being “mouthy” and talking back to her.
Schenecker bought the handgun just five days before the shootings, according to investigators. Case investigators also stated that they believed the teens “never saw it coming.” There are many unanswered questions in this case, according to officials.
Schenecker was found on Friday, Jan. 28, by police on the back porch of the family home, although it is not known what brought police to the residence. According to reports, her clothing was saturated in blood. Police believe that the teens were actually killed on Thursday.
Although the family appeared to be normal and happy according to neighbors, the first signs of trouble appeared several months ago. On Nov. 16, 2010, Calyx called police, reporting that her mother was hitting her in the car at a grocery store. The teen had gone into the store to make some purchases while her mother waited in the car. When the girl returned to the car, Schenecker began to go through her daughter’s purchases. When the teen girl complained about the invasion of her privacy, it allegedly brought on a 30-second onslaught of open-handed slaps to the face from her mother, which resulted in the call to police.
Two days later, Schenecker was involved in a motor vehicle accident while driving not far from the family home. The police reported that she had “signs of drug impairment,” citing fixed, dilated, and nonreactive pupils and “mush-mouth speech.” But there was no indication that she would buy a weapon and allegedly kill both of her children. The accident reportedly caused $26,000 in property damages.
Florida is a death penalty state, and, according to HLN’s Nancy Grace, there are aggravating factors that make this case eligible for the death penalty. First, it appears that the alleged shootings were premeditated in that Schenecker purchased the gun just days before the killings, and she took the gun with her to pick up her son from soccer practice. Additionally, more than one person was killed, categorizing the crime as a “mass murder.”
Schenecker’s husband and father of the children, Parker Schenecker, is a high-ranking career Army officer who was deployed to Qatar at the time of the alleged shootings. He has since returned home and is with family and friends. During an interview, he told authorities that he often had to mediate between the mother and her daughter.
Sources: MSNBC and MSNBC2; HLN’s Nancy Grace