TAMPA, Fla. - A Tampa police officer who drove a mother accused of killing her two teenage children to jail in January of 2011 testified Wednesday that the woman as upbeat during the ride.Officer Fred Arnold took the witness stand Wednesday afternoon in the trial of Julie Schenecker. Arnold said Schenecker "wasn't sad or anything like that" during the drive. The 53-year-old has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to two counts of first-degree murder in the shooting deaths of her 16-year-old daughter and 13-year-old son.
Prosecutors say the slayings were premeditated. The prosecution rested its case on Wednesday. Judge Emmett Battles has given the jury Thursday off, and the trial will resume Friday with the defense taking its turn.
Also on Wednesday, the prosecution played a recorded interview between Schenecker and Tampa Police Det. Gary Sandel, conducted in January 2011. On the recording, she told the detective that her children had been mean and she hoped they were dead.
During the interview, in which Schenecker's voice was slow and slurred, she did appear confused at times.
"Are my kids coming in later?" she asked the detective. Later, the detective asked her where her kids were. She said that Calyx was in her bed where she had placed her after the shooting, and that Beau was in the family's minivan where she had shot him.
"I hope they're dead," Schenecker said to the detective. "What do you think?" "They're dead," Sandel replied.
Schenecker told Sandel that she shot the teens and she had wanted to commit suicide. During the interview, her voice was slow and slurred.
Defense attorneys say Schenecker has suffered from bipolar disorder and depression for decades.