On January 27, 2011, Julie Schenecker did the unthinkable: Armed with a .38 revolver she had purchased five days before, the former Russian linguist fatally shot both of her teenage children in the head.
Beau Schenecker, 13, was found dead in a car parked in the garage of of the Scheneker’s upscale Tampa home; 16-year-old Calyx had been placed in her bed after was killed. Julie Schenecker reportedly lifted her daughter’s mouth in the shape of a smile in a bizarre staging of the body.
Calyx had been doing her homework on the computer in another room when Julie Schenecker came up behind her and shot her in the head, then in the face. Julie had already killed Beau, reportedly shooting him in the head as they were in the car, headed to soccer practice.
— Diane Fanning (@DianeFanning) January 27, 2018
Julie’s husband Parker Schenecker, at the time an army colonel, was stationed in Qatar when his children were killed. Parker reportedly testified at Julie’s murder trial that Julie had struggled with mental health issues — she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder — and had been taking pills and drinking during the time leading up to the double murder. But he said he didn’t worry that Julie would hurt their children, while acknowledging that Calyx and her mother frequently clashed. He reportedly said the family was planning to sent Calyx to boarding school “to let the situation settle down.”
But emails obtained by the Tampa Bay Times indicate that Parker Sheneker was in fact concerned for his children’s safety.
— People (@people) April 24, 2015
In an interview with police just after the double homicide, Julie Schenecker admitted to killing both of her children, because they were “mouthy.” She later changed her story, and said in a jailhouse interview with ABC News that she “saved them” — Beau from alleged sexual abuse, and Calyx from mental illness.
Julie said in the jailhouse interview that Calyx had recently learned she had bipolar disorder, and that Beau was being sexually abused by a person she refused to identify. Neither of those claims have been corroborated.
The mother said in the same interview that she had been planning to take her own life, and hadn’t intended to kill her children.
“I was only going to kill me,” she said. “I went to get a gun, but the store wouldn’t let me take it home that day. So, I had to wait. If I had gotten it the day that I went to the gun store, I would have killed myself that day.”
Schenecker’s attorneys had attempted to use an insanity defense — but a jury at her 2014 murder trial found her guilty of first-degree murder without mental defect after deliberating for only two hours. She is serving two concurrent life sentences without the possibility of parole.
Graphic photos taken at the crime scene show a chilling scene of seeming comfort and normalcy shattered by a mother’s violent rage
WARNING: The following photos contain graphic images and some readers may find them very disturbing.