TAMPA — Jurors in the upcoming trial of Julie Schenecker, the New Tampa woman accused of murdering her two teenage children in 2011, won't hear testimony about an allegation that she slapped her daughter and, separately, crashed her car in 2010 while reportedly drunk and high on the painkiller OxyContin.
In an order issued Wednesday, Hillsborough Circuit Judge Emmett L. Battles granted a defense motion to exclude testimony on the two incidents because they are "too remote to be relevant," said Assistant Public Defender Charles Traina. But Battles also left room to change his mind. According to Traina, the judge's order said that if any of the mental health experts who will testify in the case used either of those events to reach a conclusion about Schenecker's state of mind, he might change his ruling.
Prosecutors had argued for the inclusion of testimony about an allegation that Schenecker slapped her daughter Calyx in 2010 during an argument about what the teenager had purchased at a store, saying it was an example of her deteriorating relationship with her daughter.
Prosecutors say Schenecker shot her son Beau, 13, after driving him home from soccer practice, then walked upstairs and shot Calyx, 16, as she was doing homework. The 53-year-old Schenecker, who has a history of mental illness, told police she was tired of them talking back.