Jury decided quickly to convict Julie Schenecker in killings of her teenaged children

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Jury decided quickly to convict Julie Schenecker in killings of her teenaged children
Julie Schenecker looks at her family members as she is escorted out of the courtroom after being found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder at the George E. Edgecomb Courthouse, Thursday, May 15, 2014 in Tampa, Fla. Schenecker, 53, is the woman accused of killing her two teenage children Calyx, 16, and Beau, 13, in 2011. (AP Photo/Tampa Bay Times, Lara Cerri, Pool)
Photographs of Powers, left, and Calyx Schenecker are displayed on a video screen at their memorial service at the Christ Chapel Bible Church in Fort Worth, Fort Worth, Texas on Tuesday Feb. 8, 2011. Sixteen-year-old Calyx and 13-year-old Beau Schenecker were found dead Jan. 28. Julie Powers Schenecker is charged with first-degree murder but her arraignment has not yet been scheduled. Tampa police say she told detectives she shot her children for being "mouthy." (AP Photo/ Ron T. Ennis, Pool)
Parker Schenecker listens as his ex-wife, Julie Schenecker, was found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder at the George E. Edgecomb Courthouse, Thursday, May 15, 2014 in Tampa, Fla. Schenecker, 53, is the woman accused of killing her two teenage children Calyx, 16, and Beau, 13, in 2011. (AP Photo/Tampa Bay Times, Lara Cerri, Pool)
David Powers listens as his sister, Julie Schenecker, was found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder at the George E. Edgecomb Courthouse, Thursday, May 15, 2014 in Tampa, Fla. Schenecker, 53, is the woman accused of killing her two teenage children Calyx, 16, and Beau, 13, in 2011. (AP Photo/Tampa Bay Times, Lara Cerri, Pool)
Pat Powers, center, cries among family members as her daughter, Julie Schenecker was found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder at he George E. Edgecomb Courthouse, Thursday, May 15, 2014 in Tampa, Fla. Schenecker, 53, is the woman accused of killing her two teenage children Calyx, 16, and Beau, 13, in 2011. (AP Photo/Tampa Bay Times, Lara Cerri, Pool)
David Powers cries among family members as his sister, Julie Schenecker, was found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder at the George E. Edgecomb Courthouse, Thursday, May 15, 2014 in Tampa, Fla. Schenecker, 53, is the woman accused of killing her two teenage children Calyx, 16, and Beau, 13, in 2011. (AP Photo/Tampa Bay Times, Lara Cerri, Pool)
Julie Schenecker waits while paperwork is corrected after the jury had left following receiving instructions from Judge Emmett Lamar Battles on Thursday, May 15, 2014 in Tampa. Schenecker, 53, is the New Tampa woman accused of killing her two teenage children Calyx, 16, and Beau, 13, in 2011. (AP Photo/Tampa Bay Times, Daniel Wallace , Pool)
Julie Schenecker watches the jury leave after receiving instructions from Judge Emmett Lamar Battles on Thursday, May 15, 2014 in Tampa. Schenecker, 53, is the New Tampa woman accused of killing her two teenage children Calyx, 16, and Beau, 13, in 2011. (AP Photo/Tampa Bay Times, Daniel Wallace , Pool)
Judge Emmett Lamar Battles gives the jury instructions during the murder trial of Julie Schenecker on Thursday, May 15, 2014 in Tampa. Schenecker, 53, is the New Tampa woman accused of killing her two teenage children Calyx, 16, and Beau, 13, in 2011. For Schenecker the trial will decide whether she spends the rest of her life in prison, or is placed in a state psychiatric facility and periodically evaluated for release. (AP Photo/Tampa Bay Times, Daniel Wallace , Pool)
Julie Schenecker is led into Judge Emmett Lamar Battles' courtroom on Thursday, May 15, 2014 for closing arguments in her murder trial. Schenecker, 53, is accused of killing her two teenage children Calyx, 16, and Beau, 13, in 2011. The jury began deliberations Thursday afternoon. They will decide whether a former Army officer's wife knew what she was doing when she killed her two teenagers or whether she was insane at the time and couldn't tell right from wrong. (AP Photo/Tampa Bay Times, Daniel Wallace , Pool)
Julie Schenecker is escorted from Judge Emmett Lamar Battles' courtroom on Thursday, May 15, 2014 for closing arguments in her murder trial. Schenecker, 53, is accused of killing her two teenage children Calyx, 16, and Beau, 13, in 2011. The jury began deliberations Thursday afternoon. They will decide whether a former Army officer's wife knew what she was doing when she killed her two teenagers or whether she was insane at the time and couldn't tell right from wrong. (AP Photo/Tampa Bay Times, Daniel Wallace , Pool)
Defense attorney Jennifer Spradley gives her closing arguments during Julie Schenecker's trial before Judge Emmett Lamar Battles on Thursday, May 15, 2014 in Tampa. Schenecker, 53, is accused of killing her two teenage children Calyx, 16, and Beau, 13, in 2011. The jury began deliberations Thursday afternoon. They will dedice whether a former Army officer's wife knew what she was doing when she killed her two teenagers or whether she was insane at the time and couldn't tell right from wrong. (AP Photo/Tampa Bay Times, Daniel Wallace,Pool)
Julie Schenecker, right, listens to her defense attorney give closing arguments before Judge Emmett Lamar Battles on Thursday, May 15, 2014 in Tampa. Schenecker, 53, is accused of killing her two teenage children Calyx, 16, and Beau, 13, in 2011. The jury began deliberations Thursday afternoon. They will dedice whether a former Army officer's wife knew what she was doing when she killed her two teenagers or whether she was insane at the time and couldn't tell right from wrong. (AP Photo/Tampa Bay Times, Daniel Wallace,Pool)
Florida Assistant State Attorney Jay Pruner gives the final rebuttal during closing arguments in the trial of Julie Schenecker before Judge Emmett Lamar Battles on Thursday, May 15, 2014 in Tampa. Schenecker, 53, is accused of killing her two teenage children Calyx, 16, and Beau, 13, in 2011. The jury began deliberations Thursday afternoon. They will dedice whether a former Army officer's wife knew what she was doing when she killed her two teenagers or whether she was insane at the time and couldn't tell right from wrong. (AP Photo/Tampa Bay Times, Daniel Wallace,Pool)
Julie Schenecker wipes her face with a tissue as she listens to her defense attorney give closing arguments before Judge Emmett Lamar Battles on Thursday, May 15, 2014 in Tampa. Schenecker, 53, is accused of killing her two teenage children Calyx, 16, and Beau, 13, in 2011. The jury began deliberations Thursday afternoon. They will dedice whether a former Army officer's wife knew what she was doing when she killed her two teenagers or whether she was insane at the time and couldn't tell right from wrong. (AP Photo/Tampa Bay Times, Daniel Wallace,Pool)
Julie Schenecker is led into Judge Emmett Lamar Battles' courtroom on Thursday, May 15, 2014 for closing arguments in her murder trial. Schenecker, 53, is accused of killing her two teenage children Calyx, 16, and Beau, 13, in 2011. The jury began deliberations Thursday afternoon. They will dedice whether a former Army officer's wife knew what she was doing when she killed her two teenagers or whether she was insane at the time and couldn't tell right from wrong. (AP Photo/Tampa Bay Times, Daniel Wallace , Pool)
Defendant Julie Schenecker enters a Tampa courtroom on Friday, May 2, 2014 on the fifth day of jury selection in her trial. She is accused of killing her two teenaged children in 2011. (AP Photo/The Tampa Tribune, Jay Conner, Pool)
FILE -- A Jan. 30, 2011 file booking photo provided by the Hillsborough County Jail shows Julie Schenecker. Schenecker was arrested Jan. 28, 2011 and charged with two counts of first degree premeditated murder after she allegedly shot and killed her two teenage children. Schenecker allegedly told investigators she shot her children because they talked back and were "mouthy." (AP Photo/Hillsborough County Jail)
Assistant State Attorney Jay Pruner shows a family photograph to the jury during Julie Schenecker's trial on Tuesday, May 6, 2014 in Tampa, Fla. Schenecker is accused of killing her two children Calyx, 16, and Beau Schenecker, 13 in 2011. (AP Photo/The Tampa Tribune, Jay Conner, Pool)
Julie Schenecker, center, is led into a Tampa, Fla. courtroom for the first day of jury selection for her trial, Monday, April 28, 2014. Shenecker is being tried for the January 28, 2011 murder of her two children Calyx and Beau Schenecker, her 16-year-old daughter and 13-year-old son. (AP Photo/The Tampa Tribune, Jay Conner, Pool)
Defendant Julie Schenecker listens to a prospective juror answer questions from attorneys during jury selection in her double murder trial on Wednesday, April 30, 2014 in Tampa, Fla. Schenecker is on trial for two counts of first-degree murder. Police say she shot and killed her two teenagers in January 2011. (AP Photo/The Tampa Tribune, Jay Conner, Pool)
Julie Schenecker talks with attorney Jennifer Spradley on Tuesday, May 6, 2014, prior to the start of day 2 of her trial in Tampa, Fla. Schenecker is accused of killing her two children Calyx, 16, and Beau Schenecker, 13 in 2011. (AP Photo/The Tampa Tribune, Jay Conner, Pool)
Defendant Julie Schenecker looks towards her attorney Charles Traina on Friday, May 2, 2014 as he address prospective jurors on the fifth day of jury selection in her trial. She is accused of killing her two teenaged children in 2011. (AP Photo/The Tampa Tribune, Jay Conner, Pool)
Parker Schenecker looks over a family calendar as he listens to a question from Assistant State Attorney Jay Pruner during the trial of his now ex-wife Julie Schenecker. Julie Schenecker is on trial for the murders of their two children, Calyx and Beau in 2011. (AP Photo/The Tampa Tribune, Jay Conner, Pool)
Dr. Ted Kitchens speaks at the memorial service for Calyx and Beau Schenecker at the Christ Chapel Bible Church in Fort Worth, Texas on Tuesday Feb. 8, 2011. Friends say Army Col. Parker Schenecker wants his children to be remembered Tuesday afternoon for their lives instead of how they died, allegedly shot by their mother. Sixteen-year-old Calyx and 13-year-old Beau Schenecker were found dead Jan. 28. Julie Powers Schenecker is charged with first-degree murder but her arraignment has not yet been scheduled. Tampa police say she told detectives she shot her children for being "mouthy." (AP Photo/ Ron T. Ennis, Pool)
Parker Schenecker listens as his ex-wife, Julie Schenecker, was found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder at the George E. Edgecomb Courthouse, Thursday, May 15, 2014 in Tampa, Fla. Schenecker, 53, is the woman accused of killing her two teenage children Calyx, 16, and Beau, 13, in 2011. (AP Photo/Tampa Bay Times, Lara Cerri, Pool)
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By TAMARA LUSH

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- Jurors in the murder trial of a mother who fatally shot her two teenage children had to decide between two scenarios: the prosecution's argument that Julie Schenecker knew what she was doing when she aimed a .38-caliber handgun loaded with hollow-point bullets at her children's heads; or the defense's explanation that the former military linguist was legally insane at the time.

After two weeks of lengthy testimony, it took the jury less than two hours to convict the 53-year-old former military linguist and longtime Army officer's wife of first-degree murder in the January 2011 killings. She was sentenced soon after to two life terms.

Schenecker, dressed in a gray suit and pink button-down shirt, began to cry after the verdict was announced. But before she was fingerprinted and led away, she turned to the courtroom to utter the only words the public would hear from her.

"I apologize for what happened, what I did," she said, crying. "I take responsibility. I was there. I know. I know I shot my son and daughter. I don't know why but I have time to try to understand that."

In the rambling statement, there was one person Schenecker didn't address specifically or apologize to by name: her ex-husband Parker Schenecker, father of the slain 13-year-old Beau and 16-year-old Calyx.

If Parker Schenecker noticed that, he didn't mention it when he talked to the news media in the courthouse following the trial.

"Today's decision for many reasons gives my family a great relief," he said.

Six expert witnesses for the defense had described Schenecker as a mentally ill woman with bipolar disorder, depression and psychotic episodes.

But prosecutor Jay Pruner spent his closing arguments describing a calculating woman who plotted to buy the gun, waited three days for a background check and detailed her thoughts about the killings in a journal beforehand.

She killed the children, he said, because she was angry at her husband, Parker Schenecker - a career military man who was deployed in the Middle East when the killings took place. Pruner said Schenecker was angry that her husband had left her in a rehab facility over Thanksgiving and that he wanted to curtail her drinking.

Throughout the trial, Pruner relied on Schenecker's journals as evidence of premeditation.

"I could have done this anytime," Schenecker wrote to her husband. "But luckily you weren't here. I might have taken you out too. That would have been a crying shame."

Pruner added his own opinion: "What does that tell you? It not only tells you about the anger and resentment she has but it tells you, ironically, that Parker Schenecker was probably safer in the Middle East than he was in a bed next to her."

Parker Schenecker sat in the courtroom for all of the testimony, and testified twice - once for the prosecution and once for the defense.

He showed little emotion throughout the trial, except for a few wan smiles when talking about his children while on the witness stand. He sat next to his mother during the trial, while Julie's family sat on the other side of the courtroom, behind the defense table.

The couple, who had been married for 20 years, divorced in 2011 following the shootings.

Both Pruner and defense attorney Jennifer Spradley agreed that Julie Schenecker intended on killing herself, but took too many pills and drank, then passed out before she could shoot herself.

Spradley maintained that Schenecker was suffering from a psychotic episode around the time she bought the gun and shot her children.

"If her thinking was rational and logical, she would have made a different decision," Spradley said during her closing argument. "A healthy Julie Schenecker would have never shot her children."

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