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Friday, Oct 20, 2017
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State withholds some crime scene images

TAMPA - Hundreds of crime scene photographs taken inside Julie Schenecker's house were released to the media Monday — including snapshots of a .38-caliber revolver, spent shell casings and a bloodstained office chair. Other photos were redacted, with portions blacked out, including those where the bodies of Schenecker's children were found. But the media was not allowed to view more than 80 additional crime scene photos despite a court order telling the state attorney's office to make them available. Prosecutors told Judge Ashley Moody on Thursday that they are concerned about a new state law that makes photographs depicting the killing of a person exempt from public record. Prosecutors said the law was worded broadly. But Gregg Thomas, an attorney for The Tampa Tribune, News Channel 8 and TBO.com, argued the crime scene photographs should be made available for viewing. He said the law's intent was to restrict images from killings themselves, not from crime scenes a day later.
"The photographs here are not of the killing — they're not of Julie Schenecker pulling a gun and killing her son and killing her daughter," Thomas said. Moody did not rule on whether she'd reconsider releasing the remaining photographs. She said she is taking the argument of the state attorney's office under advisement. Schenecker, 50, has pleaded not guilty in the fatal shootings of her son, Beau, 13, and daughter, Calyx, 16. She is being held without bail. Her children's bodies were found Jan. 28 at the family's New Tampa home after a relative, worried about the children and fearing Schenecker was suicidal, called police, court records show. She told investigators she killed her children because they were "mouthy," a police spokeswoman said. Beau's body was found in a minivan in the garage. He was shot twice in the head and covered with a white blanket. His seatbelt was still was fastened. Detectives say Calyx was shot in the head while sitting on a chair, then was wheeled into another room and placed on a bed.

jpoltilove@tampatrib.com (813) 259-7691
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