Jury convicts Schneider in St. Anthony-area murderMay 17, 2019
By BILL POWELL
The courtroom gallery had remained full during the final day of the week-long muder trial. Many of those in the courtroom were family members of the victim and, as they departed after the verdict, one after another shook hands with Prosecutor Anthony Quinn and hugged Chief Deputy Prosecutor Beth Sermersheim, who had just presented closing arguments.
Once the verdict was read, Judge Nathan Verkamp dismissed the jury and Schneider, 27, 2010 Lincoln Drive, Huntingburg, who had previous felony burglary and domestic battery convictions on his record, remained at the defense table long enough to plead guilty to a habitual offender enhancement prosecutors sought.
Murder carries a sentence of 45 to 65 years in Indiana. The habitual offender enhancement could add six to 20 years to the sentence Verkamp is expected to render June 12.
During the trial, Schneider had remained alert and composed and had quietly conferred with his appointed defense lawyer, Jasper attorney Tim DeMotte. He appeared fraught with emotion as he answered in the affirmative Friday when Verkamp asked if he was pleading guilty to the habitual offender enhancement of his own free will.
Lubbehusen was found naked, stabbed and bleeding on the porch of a residence in the 5800 block of County Road 650S on Jan. 11. She later succumbed to her wounds at Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center.
Schneider was located, naked except for a pair of socks, hiding in a garage at the scene on the morning of the incident.
The prosecution wrapped up its fourth day of presenting evidence Friday by calling Dubois County Sheriff’s Office detective Sgt. Jesus Monarrez to the stand and playing a video of Monarrez’s Jan. 12 interview with Schneider conducted at the Dubois County Security Center.
“This is something that’s not just going to go away,” Monarrez tells Schneider in the video. “You have to get it off your chest.”
Eventually, Schneider took a sheet a paper from Monarrez and wrote, “I stabbed her.”
When he grabbed the paper and attempted to scribble over the word stabbed, other officers entered the interview room and assisted Monarrez in the retrieving of the statement, which was entered into evidence Friday.
Before and after Schneider wrote the note, he advanced multiple versions of what had happened, including that he knew nothing and that Lubbehusen cut herself and asked him to kill her.
When the prosecution rested Friday just before 11:30 a.m., DeMotte called a sheriff’s office narcotics officer to the stand in response to a jail inmate’s Thursday testimony. The inmate had said Schneider shared a story of how he had struck and then repeatedly stabbed Lubbehusen after they had talked about Lubbehusen working as a confidential informant.
DeMotte called two witnesses connected to the taking and sale — it’s still being investigated — of Schneider’s SUV that was left at the scene. The defender also put Indiana State Police detective Brock Werne and state police crime scene investigator Mark Green on the stand to discuss the investigation. In addition, DeMotte elicited testimony from one of Lubbehusen’s neighbors who reported hearing several bangs outside the morning of the murder, although that witness indicated he did not see anything each time he’d looked outside.
In her closing argument, Sermersheim noted the defense had advanced random theories but the case was not complicated. She reminded the jury that they had heard Schneider’s own words in interviews, and she reminded them that, immediately upon his arrest, Schneider is reported to have asked a sheriff’s deputy if he had ever killed anyone. When the deputy responded he had not, Schneider reportedly stated, “This would be my first.”
In his closing, DeMotte asked the jury to tell him what happened and, if they could not, they should render a not-guilty verdict. He said more could have been done during the investigation and perhaps one of the people who found her the morning of Jan. 11 and who was called as a witness knows something more than he has shared.
Sermersheim said the husband and wife who found Lubbehusen had been drug through the mud this week despite being nothing but cooperative.
Despite the jury deciding the prosecution proved Schneider’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, Sermersheim’s closing included the statement, “We don’t know why he did what he did...”
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