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Entries in Tampa (26)

Tuesday
Feb012011

Mom Charged with Murder Was Probed for Child Abuse, But Not Charged

Photo Courtesy - Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office(TAMPA, Fla.) -- Julie Schenecker, the Tampa mother who police say confessed to killing her two teenage kids last week, was investigated for possible child abuse last fall, but was not charged, according to a police report.

Schenecker, 50, is facing two counts of first-degree murder.  Holding a tissue and crying softly, the Army wife appeared in court Monday via closed circuit cameras from the Hillsborough County Jail.  Judge Walter Heinrich ordered her held without bond.

Schenecker was arrested Friday when police, responding to a call from her mother, found her covered in blood on the back porch of her home.  The woman allegedly confessed to the officers that she had shot her son, Beau, 13, and then daughter Calyx, 16, the day before because they "talked back, they were mouthy and she was tired of it," police said.

Friends have described the family as appearing normal and happy but a Tampa police report filed in November showed that Julie Schenecker had been investigated for alleged child abuse.  Police visited the Schenecker home on Nov. 6, 2010, to investigate an allegation of child abuse made by Calyx.  No charges were filed against Schenecker but, according to the police report, Schenecker acknowledged that she had hit her daughter.

Calyx told a counselor that her mother had hit her in the face when they were heading home from cross-country practice on Nov. 2, 2010, according to the police report.  Investigators said there were no visible injuries on Calyx when the report was filed four days later.

Calyx told investigators that her mom had "hit her with an open hand on her face for approximately 30 seconds," according to the report.  She said her face was red afterwards, the report noted.

Schenecker told investigators that she and her daughter had gotten into an argument after Calyx stopped at a grocery store and wouldn't show her mom what she had purchased.  Schenecker did not deny hitting Calyx.  She told police that she "backhanded her daughter three times" and her daughter "was not bruised or bleeding during the incident."

Calyx said that her sunglasses shielded her from injury.  She told police her mother had hit her so hard in the mouth a month earlier that she was bleeding, but never reported it to police.  Schenecker acknowledged that incident but said that she didn't remember Calyx bleeding, according to the report. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jan312011

Mom Faces Double-Murder Charges After Confessing to Killing Kids

Photo Courtesy - Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office(TAMPA, Fla.) -- Holding a tissue and crying softly, the Tampa, Fla. mother facing double-murder charges for killing her two teenage children because they were "mouthy" appeared in court Monday.

Julie Schenecker, 50, a military officer's wife, was arrested Friday when police, responding to a call from her mother, found her covered in blood on the back porch of her home. The woman allegedly confessed to the officers there that she had shot son, Beau, 13, and then daughter Calyx, 16, the day before because they "talked back, they were mouthy and she was tired of it," police said.

Wearing a burgundy jumpsuit with the words "inmate" written across it, Schenecker did not speak during her brief appearance in court via closed circuit cameras from the Hillsborough County Jail. Judge Walter Heinrich ordered her held without bond.

Schenecker's husband, Army Col. Parker Schenecker, is making his way back from Qatar, where he was on military assignment. He was not present at his wife's court appearance.

After being read her Miranda Rights, police said, Schenecker confessed to shooting her son twice in the head while they were on the way to soccer practice. She told police that she then drove to the family home in a gated country club community in north Tampa, where she shot her daughter in the back of the head while the teen was studying at her computer, police said.

Schenecker reportedly intended to kill herself, police said. She had left a note detailing why she'd killed her children and her plan to commit suicide, police said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jan302011

Florida Woman Treated at Hospital; Charged With Killing Kids

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(TAMPA, Fla.) -- The Florida mother accused of murdering her two teenage children because they were "mouthy" is due in court Monday, after being released from a hospital on Sunday.

Julie Schenecker, 50, a military officer's wife, was arrested Friday when police, responding to call from a concerned relative, found her covered in blood on the back porch of her home.

The woman allegedly confessed to officers that she had shot her 13-year-old son and 16-year-old daughter. Police believe she bought a .38-caliber pistol five days earlier.

According to police, Schenecker shot her son twice in the head while they were on the way to soccer practice, then drove to the family home, where she shot her daughter in the back of the head while the teen was studying at her computer.

Officers found a note the woman had written saying she planned to kill her children and then herself.

She was taken to a Tampa hospital late Friday night for what police said was a previously existing medical condition, but was released Sunday morning and taken to the Hillsborough County Jail.

Schenecker's husband, Army Col. Parker Schenecker, is stationed at the headquarters of U.S. Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa. A CentCom spokesman said that Parker Schenecker, a career Army intelligence officer, had been away for several days. Police said they had contacted the husband in Qatar Friday and told him his children had been killed.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Jan292011

Tampa Mom Admits to Fatally Shooting Teen Children

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(TAMPA, Fla.) -- The Florida woman who admitted to murdering her children because they "talked back" and were "mouthy,"  failed to appear in court Saturday because she was hospitalized and reportedly in intensive care with an unspecified condition.

Police say Julie Schenecker, 50, admitted to killing her 16-year-old daughter and 13-year-old son with a .38-caliber pistol. Authorities say she also planned to commit suicide.

Schenecker is the wife of Army Col. Parker Schenecker, who was in the Middle East when his wife opened fire on the couple’s teenage children on Thursday.

A second court date has been set for Sunday. It is not clear whether Schenecker will be able to appear.

She has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jan212011

Rape Suspect Who Cross-Examined Victim Found Guilty

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(TAMPA, Fla.) -- Luis Munuzuri Harris, the accused rapist who personally grilled his victim about the sex attack while acting as his own lawyer, has been found guilty but plans to appeal -- raising the possibility his victim will have to retell the ordeal again.

After 10 hours of deliberations Thursday, a Tampa jury found the convicted felon guilty of sexual battery, grand theft, kidnapping, impersonating a police officer, fraudulent use of personal information and fraudulent use of a credit card.

The charges stem from a July 2010 night when Harris drove along Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa impersonating an undercover narcotics officer. He pulled over the woman and raped her.

The woman's name is being withheld because she is a victim of a sex crime.

The trial ended in flamboyant fashion, much like it began. Both Harris and the woman he was found guilty of raping sobbed at the reading of the verdict.

During closing arguments, Judge Chet A. Tharpe ordered bailiffs to forcibly remove Harris from the courtroom when he began shouting. Pointing at jurors, Harris hurled accusations about the rape victim's arrest record and yelled, "I'm not waiving speedy trial." Bailiffs covered Harris' mouth with their hands as they exited the courtroom.

Harris, 31, is expected to be sentenced Feb. 17.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Jan142011

Rape Suspect Grills Alleged Victim, Then Asks for Lawyer

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(TAMPA, Fla.) -- A rape suspect who is acting as his own lawyer grilled his alleged victim on the details of the sex assault, and then asked the judge for a court-appointed lawyer -- who could now call the woman back to the stand and make her relive the ordeal again.

Rape suspect Luis Munuzuri-Harris had repeatedly rejected suggestions he use the public defender, but changed his mind after he questioned his accuser.

The woman's name is being withheld because she may be a victim of a sex crime.

Before asking for a lawyer, Munuzuri-Harris, 31, infuriated the judge with his tactics, as well as accusing the judge of trolling the Internet during the trial.

When scolded by Judge Chet Tharpe for inappropriate behavior and improper questions, Munuzuri-Harris told the judge, "I'm not a dog you need to bark orders at."

Tharpe has appointed a public defender for the defense, but he is also considering whether to declare a mistrial and start over. A new trial would also require the woman to repeat the details of the alleged attack.

Munuzuri-Harris faces felony charges including impersonating a police officer, sexual battery, aggravated assault and forced kidnapping. If convicted, he faces life in prison, according to court records.

The charges stem from a July 2010 night when prosecutors allege Harris drove along Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa impersonating an undercover narcotics officer. He allegedly pulled over the woman now accusing him of rape.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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