WARSAW, Mo. (AP) - A man accused of killing his wife and
six other relatives pleaded guilty Friday to three of the
deaths and was sentenced to three life prison sentences
with no chance for parole.
James Schnick, 40, originally was convicted of three counts
of first-degree murder in the Sept. 25, 1987, slayings,
and sentenced to death. But the Missouri Supreme Court overturned
the convictions because of problems with jury selection.
Schnick pleaded guilty in a mostly empty Benton County Circuit
Court. He admitted killing his wife, Julie, 30, and nephews
Kirk Buckner, 14, and Michael Buckner, 2, in the tiny southwestern
Missouri farming community of Elkland.
Also killed in the early-morning spree were Schnick's wife's
brother, Steve Buckner, 35; Buckner's wife, Jeannette, 36,
and their two other sons, Dennis, 8, and Timmy, 6. Schnick
never was tried in those murders and the plea agreement
reached Friday stipulated he would not be prosecuted in
All the victims were killed early Sept. 25 at the Schnick
and Buckner dairy farms.
Schnick originally blamed the slayings on his nephew Kirk,
and claimed he then killed the boy in self-defense. The
murder weapon was found clutched in Kirk's right hand.
But suspicion shifted toward Schnick after authorities learned
the dead boy was left-handed.
DNA Tests Link Estranged Husband to Alleged Rape
WEST HAVEN, Conn. (AP) - DNA testing has led to the arrest
of the estranged husband of a woman who reported she was
raped at knife-point by a masked intruder.
Bruce C. Zollo, 48, of Barefoot Bay, Fla., was arrested
Wednesday in Florida and returned to Connecticut, said police
Lt. Peter N. BonTempo Jr.
Zollo entered no plea on a charge of sexual assault with
a deadly weapon in a court appearance Thursday.
Zollo's wife, now 35, told police a masked intruder armed
with a knife surprised her in her home in February 1991.
She said the man blindfolded and handcuffed her and raped
her for 1 1/2 hours. He used duct tape to bind her face from
nose to forehead, and dragged her around the house by her
hair, clothing and limbs, police reports said.
In May 1991, police got a warrant to obtain blood, hair
and urine samples from Zollo, BonTempo said.
Police Say O'Hare Driver Hit Accelerator, Not Brake
CHICAGO (AP) - An 87-year-old man whose car careened into
a crowd of children at O'Hare International Airport - killing
a girl - hit the accelerator instead of the brakes, police
Martin Horvath's car jumped a curb Thursday and plowed into
two bus loads of children lined up along a sidewalk for
a tour of the world's busiest airport.
"He thinks that the car accelerated on its own. We think
he hit the gas pedal instead of the brake pedal," said
Sgt. Bill Diaz of the Major Accident Investigations unit.
Nine-year-old Rebecca Westlake was killed and 78 people,
including 65 children, were injured. Five adults and 12
children remained hospitalized Friday.
Former HUD Aide Pleads Innocent to Charges
WASHINGTON (AP) - Deborah Gore Dean, a former top federal
housing aide, pleaded innocent Friday to charges of receiving
an illegal gratuity and making a false statement.
Independent counsel Arlin Adams said additional charges
are expected against her in the investigation of alleged
influence-peddling at the Department of Housing and Urban
Development during the Reagan administration.
Ms. Dean, the former executive assistant to then-Housing
Secretary Samuel Pierce, is accused of receiving $4,000
illegally in connection with a private request for HUD funds.
She also is charged with filing a false statement, stating