State of Missouri v. Eric Schneider

736 S.W. 2d 392

Eric Schneider was executed on January 29, 1997

Schneider_Eric
Case Facts
:  On January 12, 1985 sometime after 7:30 p.m. Eric Schneider, David Morgan and Charles Palmer went to the home of Richard Schwendemann and Ronald Thompson in House Springs, Missouri. The trio broke into the victims’ home where they robbed and killed the two men. Following the murders and robbery, the three men returned to Schneider’s and Palmer’s apartment in south St. Louis with items taken in the robbery. Palmer returned to the apartment alone in the automobile of one of the victims.

On the next morning, January 13, Schneider and Morgan told a friend of Herrick’s about the previous night. Morgan described how he had broken into the house by kicking in the front door. Schneider stated that he shot Mr. Schwendemann in the back of the head after the victim had gotten “tough.” Morgan then discussed how he was supposed to hold Mr. Thompson’s head while Palmer cut the victim’s throat, but that he did not want to participate so Palmer did it alone. Morgan stated that Mr. Thompson was later found staggering on the pool side patio and he fell into the pool.

Later that same day, police approached a car that Morgan was sitting in and observed Morgan nervously trying to hide a brown box that contained jewelry which had been taken in the robbery. Morgan was taken into custody and questioned. Following Morgan’s interrogation police then went to the victims’ home where they discovered the two murdered men.

Police found Mr. Schwendemann’s body in the basement of the home. His hands and feet were bound with cords, wires and a string of Christmas lights and there was a dog chain around his neck. He had been shot in the back and the forehead. Mr. Thompson’s body was found by police in the swimming pool. He was also bound and had suffered 1 5 stab wounds to the neck, scalp, chest, side and back.

Subsequent investigation connected Schneider, Morgan and Palmer with the articles and property missing from the victims’ house. Ballistics evidence indicated the shots that killed Mr. Schwendemann were fired from a .22 caliber rifle that belonged to Eric Schneider. Police also recovered a knife that had been used in the crime and which further implicated Schneider to the murders of the two victims.

Charles Palmer received two consecutive life sentences for Murder Second Degree and is currently confined in the Jefferson City Correctional Center. David Morgan received two concurrent 30 year sentences for Murder Second Degree and is also currently confined in the Missouri Department of Corrections.


Legal Chronology

1981
01/27 – Schneider was arrested for two counts of Burglary Second degree in City of St. Louis. On May 1 5, 1 981 Schneider was placed on two years probation on each count. On January 7, 1983 Schneider’s probations were revoked and he was sentenced to the Missouri Department of Corrections to three years on each count to be served concurrently. 
05/24 – Schneider was arrested in the City of St. Louis for Assault Third Degree. 
08/27 – Schneider was sentenced to 15 days in the St. Louis Medium Security Institution. Execution of the sentence was suspended and Schneider was placed on two years probation. 

1982
05/24 – Schneider was arrested in the City of St. Louis for Possession of Marijuana. On September 9, 1 982 he was fined $100.00 and court costs. 
09/23 – Schneider was arrested in the City of St. Louis for two counts of Burglary Second Degree, two counts of Stealing Over $150 and Possession of a Controlled Substance. 

1983
01/07 – Schneider was sentenced to three years in the Missouri Department of Corrections on each count to run concurrently. 

1984
10/08 – Schneider was released from prison by statute. This term of conditional release expired on October 8, 1985. 

1985
1/14-Eric Schneider arrested for the murders of Richard Schwendemann and Ronald Thompson in their home located in House Springs, Missouri two days after the crime was committed.
10/30-Schneider is found guilty of two counts of Murder First Degree by a jury in Jefferson County. The jury recommends a sentence of death.
12/4-Schneider is sentenced to death.

1987
9/15-Schneider’s conviction is affirmed.

1988
1/25-The U.S. Supreme Court denies certiorari.
2/4-Schneider files a post-conviction motion in the Circuit court of Jefferson County.

1989
6/27-The Circuit Court of Jefferson County denies Schneider’s postconviction motion.

1990
4/17-The Missouri Supreme Court affirms the Circuit Court’s denial of the post-conviction motion.
10/1-The U.S. Supreme Court denies certiorari.
10/17-Schneider files a petition for writ of habeas corpus in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.

1995
6/8-The petition for writ of habeas corpus is denied by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.

1996
5/30-The U.S. Curt of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit affirms the District Court’s denial for habeas corpus.
12/2-The U.S. Supreme Court denies certiorari. The Missouri State Supreme Court sets January 29, 1997 as the date for Eric Schneider’s execution.