Video at murder trial of father shows person had written 'Forever Young' and 'Gone to Neverland' on a pillowcase
BY NEAL HALL, VANCOUVER SUNOCTOBER 8, 2009
A killer left cruel messages scrawled in blood last year at the death scene of three young children.
A video played Thursday at the murder trial of the children's father, Allan Dwayne Schoenborn, showed the killer had written "Forever Young" in blood on a pillow case and "Gone to Neverland" on the flip side.
"Forever Young" was also written in large letters on a living room wall above the TV, the video showed. (Prosecutor Glenn Kelt told the judge there will be an admission today that soy sauce was likely used to write the words in the living room.)
The video camera then panned across the room to the couch, where two young boys appeared to be cuddled together, sleeping. The eight-year-old boy was facing his younger brother with an arm draped over the five-year-old.
The boys were dead, as was their older sister, who was found beneath a bloody blanket in a back bedroom on April 6, 2008.
The girl had been stabbed to death. The boys had been suffocated.
The video was shown at the opening day of Schoenborn's trial. He has pleaded not guilty to three counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of his 10-year-old daughter Kaitlynne Schoenborn, his eight-year-old son Max and five-year-old son Cordon.
The children had moved with their mother to Merritt in the summer of 2007, after Schoenborn threatened his former common-law wife, Darcie Clarke, resulting in his arrest and a court imposing a peace bond against him.
The peace bond allowed Clarke to ask police to remove Schoenborn if he became abusive or was drinking.
The father had come for an overnight visit with his kids before the slayings. Clarke had made arrangements to stay elsewhere that night -- April 5, 2008.
The video showed blood on the kitchen floor, a large pool of blood on the carpet of a bedroom and droplets of blood all through the trailer, where the children had lived in Merritt with their mother.
A bloody kitchen knife was shown on the floor of one of three bedrooms.
There were also bloody fingerprints in the bathroom and a sink full of red-tinged water.
Schoenborn, 41, a former Vancouver roofer, hung his head when the video was first played.
The sombre silence in the courtroom was broken at one point when Schoenborn blurted out from the prisoner's box: "A couple of brothers in arms."
At another point, while an RCMP officer was recounting taking dozens of photos at the murder scene, including a closeup of plastic wrap and a bloody razor blade, Schoenborn loudly asked: "Saran wrap or a plastic bag?"
Defence lawyer Peter Wilson whispered something in the ear of his client, who has a bushy beard and long black hair, extending 15 centimetres over his shirt collar.
The accused bears a striking resemblance to infamous killer Charlie Manson.
Schoenborn nodded as his lawyer spoke to him and said nothing further.
Clarke had talked to Schoenborn a few times the evening of April 5 and heard the lively voices of the children in the background.
She came home after 2 p.m. the next day to find her children dead and Schoenborn gone.
Schoenborn wasn't arrested until April 16, 2008, after an extensive 10-day police manhunt.
A local trapper, Kim Robinson, found him, emaciated and dehydrated, hiding in the bush near a highway rest stop overlooking Merritt on the highway to Kelowna.
The Crown's theory is the murders were revenge killings to make his former common-law wife suffer.
One of the first officers to arrive at the scene, Const. Lurene Dillon, recalled the mother was screaming and crying as police arrived.
"She would stop, calm down, then cry out 'My babies, my babies,'" she told B.C. Supreme Court Justice Robert Powers.
"She was in complete shock."
Dillon recalled the mother said Schoenborn had no car but wasn't at the mother's rented trailer when she arrived home.
Cross-examined by Rishi Gill, who with Wilson is defending the accused, the officer agreed the mother said at the scene that Schoenborn had no money and suffered from a mental disorder -- paranoid schizophrenia.
The defence is expected to focus on the mental state of the accused at the time of the murders.
The Crown said during its opening that after his arrest, the accused confessed to killing his children to a number of people.
An undercover officer and a medical doctor are expected to be called to testify about post-arrest statements made by Schoenborn.
Prosecutor Sheri Mark said during the Crown's opening outline of the evidence that the mother is expected to testify next week. "We also expect her to relate a series of communications and conversations with Mr. Schoenborn both before and after the deaths of the children," Mark said.
The prosecutor said the court will hear the "wrenching" 911 call the mother made.
Defence lawyer Gill, however, opposed the playing of the 911 call, saying there is little value to hearing the call.
The judge will consider the issue.
"I'm going to reserve on that because I don't know how the case will play out," the judge said.
Schoenborn is also facing charges of uttering threats, escaping lawful custody and breach of recognizance stemming from incidents prior to the murders.
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