The Tampa Tribune/AP
Steve Helling
February 16, 2011 11:45 AM

Three weeks after the shooting deaths of her two teenagers, Julie Schenecker pleaded not guilty in a Tampa courtroom Wednesday to the charges of first-degree murder.

Wearing a red jumpsuit and chained at the waist, wrists and ankles, Schenecker, 50, stared straight ahead as she entered the courtroom. Keeping her eyes closed as the judge read the formal charges against her at the brief arraignment, she did not speak.

Schenecker’s public defender, Robert Frasier, entered the not-guilty plea on her behalf.

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Prosecutors contend that Schenecker shot her daughter and son, Calyx, 16 and Beau, 13 on Jan. 28. Although Schenecker told investigators that the kids were “mouthy,” family and friends say that the children were bright and respectful.

One person notably absent at today’s hearing: Schenecker’s husband, Army Col. Parker Schenecker. Family spokesperson Lisa Eichhorn released a statement saying that he was currently out of state meeting with friends and family members.

The statement also announced plans to donate contributions from the memorial fund to the American Cancer Society.

“The generosity and love supporters have shown through letters, phone calls and donations to the Calyx and Beau Schenecker Memorial Fund has been humbling,” Eichhorn wrote. “This contribution is just the first step in keeping his promise to support those causes and activities his children found important.”

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