The Tampa, Fla., mother who is accused of shooting to death her two teen children was taken to Tampa General Hospital for medical evaluation for a pre-existing condition, authorities say. Tampa Bay Online reports that Julie Schenecker, 50, was shaking uncontrollably when she was taken from a local police station and transported to the hospital, sheriff’s spokesman Larry McKinnon said. McKinnon went on to say that Julie Schenecker’s condition existed before her arrest on two counts of first-degree murder.
Authorities did not go into details about a specific condition that Julie Schenecker might have been suffering from. It is also unclear if the condition had been exacerbated by the trauma of her circumstances, brought on by shock or a delayed reaction to the acts that she allegedly admitted to police that she had committed.
Police found the body of 13-year-old Beau Powers Schenecker in the family’s SUV in the garage, two shots to the head. They found Calyx Powers Schenecker, 16, in an upstairs bedroom. The bodies were found when Hillsborough County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a request from Julie Schenecker’s mother, Pat Powers, who called from Texas to tell them she was concerned for her daughter, who she thought might be depressed. Prior to finding the children, officers had found Schenecker on the back porch in a bloody robe and slippers, according to a statement.
Police said Julie Schenecker had shot the children with a .38-caliber handgun she had purchased five days before the shootings.
Schenecker described her acts in detail to police after being taken into custody. “The mother was taken downtown [to Tampa Police headquarters],” Tampa Police spokeswoman Laura McElroy told WTSP in Tampa. “She described the crimes in detail to the detectives.”
She shot Beau Schenecker, an eighth-grader at Liberty Middle, on their way home from soccer practice, she allegedly told police. She then went upstairs and shot her daughter Calyx, a sophomore at King High School enrolled in the International Baccalaureate program and a member of the cross country team, twice in the head while she was doing her homework. Schenecker told police, according to McElroy, that she had killed the teens because “they talked back, they were mouthy and she was tired of it.”
She had also meant to kill herself, she told authorities.
The release of the information regarding the shooting incident was delayed due to authorities contacting the husband, Parker Schenecker, an Army intelligence colonel who is stationed in Qatar.
Julie Powers Schenecker had also once worked in intelligence as a collector in Munich, Germany, as a Russian linguist for the U.S. Army, according to colleague K.C. Dweller. Noting that she had a “Type A personality,” he also supplied that he couldn’t “imagine how things got to where they were at.”
Expressed in layman’s terms, Personality Theory revolves around the idea that there are two dominant personality types, a Type A and a Type B. Type A individuals exhibit traits of being ambitious, aggressive, business-like, controlling, highly competitive, impatient, status-conscious, time-conscious and sometimes tightly wound, while Type B personalities are said to exhibit traits of being relaxed, easy-going, usually patient, without a sense of urgency, and at times apathetic or aloof. Personality Theory, however, is subject to much debate and outright criticism due to its oversimplification of the complexity of traits that make up any given personality.
However, given Julie Schenecker’s statement that her children were “mouthy” and she was “tired of it,” it would appear that, if her colleague’s assessment of her being a Type A personality were to be deemed accurate, the shooting of her teen children may have been a desperate act of an individual attempting to assume or reassume control. Although the act itself will be seen as inexcusable, unjustifiable, and unconscionable, it is often the perception of the lack of control or the attempt to assume or reassume control in a given instance that leads to acts of violence. And killing is sometimes viewed as an ultimate controlling act.
Could Julie Schenecker have been a mother who felt she had simply lost control of her children or perhaps her own life (with regard to her pre-existing condition)?
It would appear Schenecker decided five days before the killings that there was no other way to control her situation. And she chose to take action — irrevocably tragic action — to control the situation.
Julie Schenecker is currently undergoing medical evaluation and reportedly in intensive care.
Jay Conner, “Mom accused of killing kids under medical evaluation,” TBO.com
Eric Glasser, “Julie Schenecker, New Tampa mom and wife of Army Colonel Parker Schenecker, accused of murdering her children Calyx and Beau,” WTSP.com