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Schenecker will use insanity defense

The Tampa Tribune
Published:   |   Updated: March 20, 2013 at 06:19 PM
TAMPA -

Julie Schenecker will rely on an insanity defense in her trial on charges of killing her two teenage children.

Schenecker's lawyers filed their intention late Friday to use mental infirmity to defend their client.

"(Schenecker) did not know what (she) was doing or its consequences," Maura Doherty, one of her attorneys, said in the two-page notice. "(Schenecker) did not know it was wrong and this was because the defendant was suffering from a mental infirmity, disease or defect, to wit: Bipolar Disorder with psychotic features."

Schenecker faces two counts of first-degree murder in the January deaths of son Beau, 13, and daughter Calyx, 16, in their New Tampa home. Authorities said she shot Calyx because she was "mouthy" and Beau because he sassed back after soccer practice.

Prosecutors filed notice Friday of their intention to seek the death penalty should Schenecker be convicted.

Records released in the case showed Schenecker had long battled and been treated for manic depression. Police found 12 medications, including powerful antipsychotics and mood stabilizers, when they searched the home after finding the children's bodies.

Police went to check on Schenecker and found the children's bodies after Schenecker's mother called authorities.

Schenecker's mother was worried that her daughter might be suicidal and wasn't answering the telephone.

No trial date has been set. A status conference in the case is set for Oct. 6.

Local attorneys have long predicted the use of the insanity defense and that the trial would turn on which doctors the jurors would believe.

Doherty's filing said the defense has already lined up a psychiatrist and clinical psychologist to support their claims.


tbrennan@tampatrib.com (813) 259-7698
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