Friday 19 December 2014

Mother sorry for shooting children

Published 16/05/2014 | 10:27

Julie Schenecker is escorted from the courtroom (AP)
Julie Schenecker is escorted from the courtroom (AP)

A Florida mother who shot her two teenage children in the head says she knows what she did - but not why she did it.

Julie Schenecker apologised to "everyone in the courtroom" following her conviction on two counts of first-degree murder.

Crying as she spoke, Schenecker told the judge and jurors that she would have plenty of time in prison to "try to understand" why she killed her 13-year-old son, Beau, and 16-year-old daughter, Calyx.

The jury delivered its verdict within two hours, agreeing with the prosecution that the 53-year-old former military linguist knew exactly what she was doing when she aimed a .38-calibre handgun loaded with hollow-point bullets at her children's heads.

The defence argued that Schenecker was legally insane.

Earlier in the trial, jurors heard from Schenecker's former husband, Parker, who was on a 10-day deployment to the Middle East when the children were shot.

Parker Schenecker said that his wife's depression and mental illness was a constant "drum beat" in their relationship.

A psychologist told the court that Julie Schenecker called herself "a failure" because she didn't succeed in committing suicide after killing her children.

For the defence, Dr Eldra Solomon said she has no doubt Schenecker was insane when she killed her 16-year-old daughter and 13-year-old son in January of 2011.

Dr Solomon told the jury that she reviewed all of Schenecker's medical records and spent 20 hours with her following the slayings. She said Schenecker had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder with psychotic features on many different occasions, by several doctors, throughout her life.

Press Association

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