Jury finds Schenecker guilty of first degree murder - FOX 13 News

Jury finds Schenecker guilty of first degree murder

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

The jury has found Julie Schenecker guilty of first-degree murder, and the judge has sentenced her to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

After daylong closing arguments Thursday, jurors started talking at about 4:45 p.m. and at about 6:30 it was announced they had a verdict.

Prosecutors say she was sane when she killed her two teenage children.

The defense argued she suffered from years of mental illness and was legally insane during the time of the killings.

Schenecker wiped her nose and eyes, then the bailiffs handcuffed her. She started to cry.

Prosecutors said she was desperate and determined to kill her children, planning the Tampa Palms killings in advance.

They say she was angry and had enough clarity in her mind to plan out a Saturday massacre and follow through with it.

The defense, meanwhile, reminded the jury that Schenecker suffers from mental illness and didn’t know the right from wrong when she killed Beau and Calyx.

The jury began deliberating just before 5 this afternoon.

The judge denied a request to delay sentencing. He gave both the defense, the prosecution and Schenecker herself the opportunity to speak.

Schenecker did address the court.

“I apologize for what happened, for what I did, I take responsibility, I was there,” she said haltingly, through tears. “I shot my son and daughter, I don’t know why.”

Schenecker also took time to thank the judge for controlling and running the courtroom well, and she thanked the attorney for their work.

Her last comments were about her children.

“I know my children are I heaven. I want people to try to find comfort and meaning, as I do, that they are in no pain,” she said.

Before handing down the sentence, the judge acknowledged what an emotional trial it had been.

“Almost too much to comprehend what brings us here,” he said.

He then sentenced Julie Schenecker to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

She will have 30 days to appeal the ruling.

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