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Strong prescription drugs found in home of Tampa mom charged with killing her 2 teenagers
Associated Press (AP) ' Empty bottles of the powerful painkillers oxycodone and hydrocodone were among the 14 different prescription drug bottles found in the home of a 50-year-old woman accused of killing her two teenage children in January, according to court documents released by prosecutors Monday.
The nearly 600 pages of documents and photographs, released as part of the discovery process in the court case, also showed that two friends told investigators that Julie Schenecker had been treated for prescription drug addiction several months before the slayings of her 16-year-old daughter, Calyx, and 13-year-old son, Beau.
Listed by police among items collected as evidence from the upscale house in north Tampa were medications prescribed to Schenecker, including lithium, used to treat bipolar disorder, anti-depressants and drugs to treat anxiety and prevent seizures.
Police have not said whether Schenecker's possible drug abuse played a role in the slayings, but officers who went to the house afterward said they found Schenecker nearly incoherent and under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Police say that Schenecker told them she shot both of her children in the head because they had been "mouthy" and disrespectful. They say she planned the killings and bought a gun the previous week.
Her husband, Army Col. Parker Schenecker, a military intelligence officer, was on a temporary assignment in Afghanistan at the time. In April, he told People magazine that his wife had struggled with mental illness, but he never imagined she would kill their children. He was granted a divorce from her in May.
Parker Schenecker released a statement Monday saying the newly public documents "highlighted the substantial burden and responsibility that comes with access to details of my children's murders."
"My family, friends and I, along with the thousands who have mourned Calyx and Beau with us will continue to honor my beautiful children, remembering them with dignity and respect," he said.
A judge gave prosecutors until August to determine whether they'll seek the death penalty. Her attorneys are expected to announce soon if they will use an insanity defense. She has pleaded not guilty to two counts of first-degree murder. A call to her public defender was not immediately returned Monday.
The new documents also show that Calyx Schenecker had hoped to go away to boarding school, and a friend told police that her father had hoped to make that happen before he went away to Afghanistan in January. State child welfare documents showed that the family was in counseling because Calyx and her mother were not getting along. Case workers investigated on one occasion after Calyx reported that her mother hit her.
Another document recounted Julie Schenecker's trip to a gun store on Jan. 21 to buy a Smith & Wesson .38-caliber revolver. The people who talked to her that day said she was "articulate and perfectly normal," according to an investigator's report. She paid $599 for the gun, a box of shells and the background check.
Schenecker told the proprietors that there had been several home-invasion robberies in her neighborhood and that she was buying the gun for protection. Police recovered the gun and five spent shells from the home.
Police say Schenecker shot her son in the van while driving him home from soccer practice. At home, reports said, she left him belted in the passenger's seat, then went inside and killed her daughter who was sitting at a computer doing homework. Autopsy reports say she shot each child twice, in the head and face.
They found her unconscious on the morning of Jan. 28 on the pool deck at the back of the house, her hands and white robe covered with blood. Officers responded after her mother in Texas called and said Schenecker had been depressed and talked of suicide.