Julie Schenecker Murder Trial Starts Jury Selection


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The jury selection phase of the murder trial of Julie Schenecker began Monday in Tampa, and is expected to take several days, as the prosecution and defense assess over 100 potential jurors. Schenecker, of New Tampa, Florida is accused of killing her two teenage children in 2011.

The Schenecker double homicide occurred on January 28, 2011, when Calyx and Beau Schenecker were found dead in their Tampa home by police. Julie Powers Schenecker was arrested on suspicion of their murder after an alleged confession. At the scene of the crime, the teens were found with gunshot wounds to their heads and covered in blankets, and Schenecker herself was found covered in blood on the back porch of the house.

Schenecker had initally admitted to police that she shot her children because they "talked back and were mouthy," and proceeded to describe the murders in detail. Police arrested Schenecker at the scene.

Prosecutors were initially seeking the death penalty in the case, though now the trial will decide if Schenecker, 53, will spend her life behind bars or be admitted to a psychiatric hospital. Schenecker had been diagnosed with biopolar disorder, and suffers from extreme clinical depression. Circuit Court Judge Emmett L. Battles has set aside three weeks for the trial.

Both the prosecution and defense are searching for jurors who have had little or no exposure to the extensive media coverage surrounding the homicides. Prosecutors will likely emphasize the premeditated nature of the crime, as Schenecker purchased the .38 revolver she'd used to shoot her children 5 days before the act. The defense will surely highlight her mental health status.

Schenecker, the ex-wife of an Army colonel, is having her legal assistance paid for by the state, as her husband quickly filed for divorce as well as a wrongful death suit after the shootings.

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