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Psychologist: Mental illness drove Schenecker to kill her kids | News

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Psychologist: Mental illness drove Schenecker to kill her kids
Psychologist: Mental illness drove Schenecker to kill her kids

Tampa, FL - One week after the tragedy, the Bay area community struggles to understand why a mother would kill her own kids.

With a pHD in Psychology and more than 50 years in this field, Dr. Sidney Merrin of Tampa helped us make some sense of this case.

We started with the search warrant that showed after Julie Schenecker shot each child twice in the head, she covered their bodies with blankets.  Ironically, Merrin says, that shows Schenecker's second nature as a mother.

"As a way of saying, 'I really loved these children, but," said Merrin.

Then there is the disturbing video of deputies escorting Schenecker to jail on the day they arrested her for the murders.

Merrin explains the shaking by saying, "It is an exaggerated form of anxiety, something of which she has no control."

Merrin says the severe anxiety was likely a contributing factor to the killings.  Shenecker told police the reason she did it was because the teenagers were "being mouthy."

Merrin says, based on what he's learned about the case, her husband's occupation, as a US Army Colonel compounded discipline problems she was having with her kids.

"He's in command of how many other soldiers but she was the sort of person who could not change his mind, could not move him in the way she would like and the children were taking after him," said Merrin.

Merrin says Schenecker was driven by mental illness to kill her kids.

But when ask this doctor with decades of experience in expert testimony in the courtroom if he sees a potential insanity defense, he said, "The probability she is insane is very, very remote however it is not unlikely that its present hidden back there somewhere."

At this point, we do not know if Schenecker will plead insanity.

Shenecker remains at the Orient Road Jail charged with two counts of first degree murder.

We're told she is in solitary confinement in the infirmary area where she's not allowed to watch tv or read newspapers.

So far, the only person who has visited her is her public defender.


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