CRESCENT, Okla. – It was, perhaps, the most important argument of Mark Schemm’s life.
Did he kill his wife, Monica, out of the goodness of his heart?
“We didn’t understand we had questions. Mark had been a part of the family longer than I had,” said Kelly Bisel.
Bisel was Monica’s brother-in-law.
He explained that Monica battled brain cancer and a head injury over the past 22 years.
Times were getting harder, but she had her husband and kids by her side.
“She was frustrated with her situation, but every time the family was together, she had fun. She laughed, talked, played games,” said Bisel. “None of us had ever heard her say she wanted to die.”
To hear Mark tell it, Monica wanted it to end.
His attorney said in closing arguments that the couple’s plan was clear: Mark would kill Monica in her sleep.
So last June, during her nap at their Crescent home, Mark zip tied his wife’s feet and hands.
He says she woke to the movement, the two prayed their last prayer, Mark placed a bag over her head and she suffocated.
Then, Mark zip tied himself to a chair and placed a bag on his head.
He told police home invaders did it.
“He didn’t do it solely out of mercy for her,” said State Prosecutor Kevin Etherington. “The witnesses testified she’d been sick for some time but had no terminal illnesses.”
The state argued even if Mark did this out of love, it’s still illegal to kill another person.
“This isn’t a situation where he gave her the gun or gave her the pills, and she went and committed suicide. This is a situation where he took it upon himself to put a bag over her head, secure it with duct tape and stage it as something else had happened,” said Etherington.
It took the jury less than 30 minutes to find Mark guilty of First Degree Murder.
Monica’s side of the family says they feel like no one wins in this tragedy.
“It’s tough. It’s tough,” said Bisel. “Seeing pictures, hearing testimony. It was tough. We felt like we shouldn’t have been there. We felt like it shouldn’t have happened.”
The children sat behind their father in his support.
They cried along with more than 20 other family members as verdict was read out loud.
Originally, Schemm told officers two men broke into the home, tied him and his wife up and robbed them.
A few hours later, he admitted to killing his wife and fabricating the home invasion story.
He said his wife asked him to kill her as she was unable to commit suicide.
On Monday, a jury deliberated for just 30 minutes before finding Schemm guilty of first-degree murder.