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Nancy Grace

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Get caught up: Julie Schenecker murder trial

  • Trial gets under way Monday for Florida mom accused of killing her 2 children
  • Police say Schenecker told them she killed her children because they were being 'mouthy'
  • Schenecker's attorneys are planning an insanity defense
Get caught up: Julie Schenecker murder trial

Crime scene photos: 'Mouthy' kids murder trial

Crime scene photos: 'Mouthy' kids murder trial

‘Mouthy’ kids murder trial: Mom won’t face death

The trial begins Monday in the case of a Florida mother accused of shooting and killing her two teenage children in 2011.

Julie Schenecker, a 53-year-old former military intelligence officer and interrogator, is charged with two counts of first-degree murder. She faces life in prison if convicted.

Prosecutors said they are not seeking the death penalty, citing overwhelming evidence of mental health issues.

Here’s what else you need to know about the case before testimony begins:

The bodies of 13-year-old Beau Schenecker and 16-year-old Calyx Schenecker were found inside their Tampa home on January 28, 2011.

Police officers responded to the home early that morning to conduct a welfare check after Schenecker’s mother called police and stated that she received a possibly suicidal e-mail from her daughter.

Schenecker’s then-husband, U.S. Army Colonel Parker Schenecker, was overseas in Afghanistan when police received the phone call.  Schenecker’s mother told investigators she was concerned that her daughter and the couple’s two children were not answering their phones.

When officers arrived at the scene, they found Schenecker unconscious and lying on the ground in the backyard screened-in pool area. She appeared to be intoxicated and had dried blood on her bathrobe and hands, court documents state.

Inside the home, police discovered Calyx’s body on her bed, covered with a blanket. Beau was found dead inside the family’s car, which was parked in the garage.

Prosecutors believe Schenecker planned the murders days earlier. Court documents state the murder weapon, a .38 Smith & Wesson, was purchased by Schenecker five days prior to the killings.  

According to documents, Schenecker allegedly shot her son to death while driving him to soccer practice on the night on January 27. Afterwards, prosecutors say Schenecker returned home and parked her van in the garage with her son’s body still inside.

Still armed with the handgun, prosecutors say Schenecker went inside the home and shot Calyx twice in the head while she was doing homework on her computer.

In an interview with detectives, Schenecker allegedly told police she killed her children for talking back to her and being “mouthy.”

At the time of the killings, Schenecker’s attorneys say she was being treated for depression, bipolar disorder and substance abuse. Court documents show that Schenecker has a long history of mental illness.

Schenecker has pleaded not guilty to both counts of murder. Her defense attorneys are expected to use an insanity defense at trial.

To find Schenecker criminally insane, her attorneys will have to convince jurors that she either didn't know what she was doing, or if she did, she didn't understand it was wrong.

Meanwhile, Schenecker remains behind bars at the Hillsborough County Jail without bond.

Her trial is expected to last about three weeks. 

For more on this story, watch Nancy Grace weeknights at 8 p.m. ET on HLN. Follow the show on Facebook, and follow Nancy on Twitter.

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