In September 1987, a 911 call from a farm outside Elkland, Missouri, led to a horrific police discovery. A family of six was wiped out and another man lost his wife. Authorities struggled to figure out what happened until significant evidence emerged that led them to James Schnick, who was associated with all the victims. Investigation found’The 1980s: The Deadliest Decade: The Heartland Massacre” focuses on seven murders that took place on two farms and how the police ended up arresting James. So, let’s find out what happened then, shall we?
Who are James Schnick’s victims?
In the early hours of September 25, 1987, James Schnick called 911, saying he was shot and bleeding. Authorities arrived at Schnick’s Farm outside Elkland and found James shot in the leg and stomach. However, this is only the beginning of the horrific discovery they will make. At the time, James was living with his wife, Julie, 30, and two daughters, Jamie and Mindy.
Julie’s brother, Steve Buckner, 35, and his wife, Janet, 36, live about seven miles from their farm. They have four sons: Kirk, 14; Dennis, eight; Timmy, seven; and Michael, two. At James’ home, police found Kirk’s body not far from him; he appeared to have been stabbed. Julie was found in the bedroom with two shots in the forehead. Fortunately, Jamie and Mindy were unharmed.
Police were dispatched to Steven’s home. Inside, they found Timmy and Dennis on their bed, shot twice in the head. As for Michael, two, who was placed in his enclosure, he suffered a gunshot wound to the temple. Janet was found on the property with a gunshot wound to the head, and in the end, Steve was found on the road connecting the two farms. He was shot twice in the back of the head and appeared to be dragged some distance.
James, who was treated for apparent injuries, told police he went home after rounding up cattle and was shot in the dark. James then claimed to have stabbed the attacker with a knife. It turned out to be Kirk, and the gun was found in his right hand.Initially, authorities believed Kirk was responsible for murder. They felt he killed his brother, then his mother, and finally his father.
However, additional evidence appears to suggest Kirk was the victim, not the murderer. Although a gun was found in his right hand, everyone said he was left-handed. Also, it seems unlikely that the teenager was dragging his father who weighed more than 200 pounds. In the end, Kirk’s autopsy report revealed that he was also shot three times by the same gun. So the suspicion shifted to James.
According to the show, police learned that James had an extramarital affair with a woman named Nancy Bruner. She later told police that James talked about divorcing Jolie and that he wanted to marry her. But that never happened, and Nancy told Julie about it.James, he provides different stories Regarding what happened that morning, he eventually admitted to killing all seven of his family members.
Where is James Schnick today?
According to the show, James Schnick said Jolie was upset about the incident in the hours before the shooting and called Steve for support. He claims to have shot Steve during a fight on the road, but evidence suggests otherwise. James admitted to shooting Janet and Kirk at Buckner Farms before killing the other three boys. After noticing Kirk was still alive, James brought him back to Schnick’s residence and staged the scene after killing Julie.
Authorities found gunshot residue on the inside of James’ pants, suggesting he may have shot himself. In addition, an immobilization pin for the murder weapon was found in his trouser pocket. Originally, James was convicted of three counts of first-degree murder and sentenced to death.However, the Missouri Supreme Court overthrow subsequent conviction. In May 1992, James, then 40, pleaded guilty to the murders of Julie, Kirk and Michael and was sentenced to three life sentences without parole. He appears to have been serving time at a correctional facility in Missouri ever since.
Read more: Who was Terry Hyatt’s victim?