Fla. Mom Killed Her Teenage Kids Because They Were 'Mouthy' — and Now She Wants New Trial

Julie Schenecker, 57, was convicted in 2014 for shooting her son Beau, 13, and daughter Calyx, 16

Florida News - May 15, 2014
Photo: Daniel Wallace/Tampa Bay Times/ZUMA PRESS

A Florida mom who killed her two teenagers in 2011 and then described them to investigators as “mouthy” wants a new trial after her 2014 conviction.

While serving a life sentence, Julie Schenecker, 57, has filed a motion claiming her public defender failed to introduce evidence that might have proven she was purportedly legally insane at the time, Tampa news station Fox 13 reports.

The motion also suggests that jurors appeared to fall asleep during testimony and already had made up their minds about her guilt.

Her trial defense attorney, Jennifer Spradley, declined PEOPLE’s request for comment.

Schenecker later recanted her claim that she killed her children — Beau, 13, and daughter Calyx, 16 — because they were “mouthy.” At the time of the deaths, her husband, Parker, was a U.S. Army colonel stationed in Qatar.

She first shot Beau twice in the head with a .38-caliber pistol for “talking back” as she was driving him to soccer practice in suburban Tampa, according to a police affidavit at the time of her arrest. The report said she then drove to her family’s $448,000 home and shot Calyx — a high school cross-country running star — in the face as she sat studying at the computer.

Florida Dept of Corrections

Although his wife had battled clinical depression, Parker Schenecker previously told PEOPLE that she’d never shown any signs she would hurt the children.

“We were a typical American family, but we had a sick member,” he told PEOPLE after the murders. “I never had any indication she was homicidal or that she would ever harm the children.”

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In a 2015 interview after she had begun serving her sentence, Julie Schenecker said she did not regret her actions.

Speaking to ABC Action News in Tampa, Schenecker shockingly said she would have done everything the same again. When asked if she regretted the shooting, Schenecker shook her head no. “I saved them,” she said in the interview.

Schenecker claimed her son was being sexually abused and her daughter had recently disclosed that she was bipolar — both allegations that were never proved during her 2014 murder trial. She declined to give more details when pressed.

Schenecker said in the interview that her memories were hazy — “I took painkillers all the time,” she said — and that she intended to commit suicide but not hurt 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.”

She also said that she did not wake up on Jan. 27, 2011, planning to kill her children.

But those comments appeared to contradict what she’d written only days earlier in her journals, copies of which were obtained by PEOPLE, where she plotted the deaths of her children and called her plan a “massacre.”

Among other revelations during Schenecker’s trial, she admitted to manipulating her daughter’s mouth into a smile after killing her. During her psychiatrist’s testimony, Schenecker lashed out, yelling “liar” in open court — and causing the judge to threaten to restrain her if she spoke out again.

Jurors who deliberated just two hours rejected her insanity defense and found Schenecker guilty of two counts of capital murder without mental defect, meaning that she was sane at the time of the killings.

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