Army Sergeant Convicted of Premeditated Murder for Beheading Wife's Lover
Apr. 01, 1994
HANAU, Germany (AP) _ A court-martial jury convicted a U.S. Army sergeant today of premeditated murder for beheading his wife's lover.
Sgt. Stephen Schap, 26, of Baltimore, stood calmly with his defense lawyers as Col. Gerald E. Luttrell, ranking officer of the jury, announced the verdict.
Schap repeatedly stabbed his friend, Gregory Glover, 21, of Phoenix, decapitated him and took the head to his wife in a hospital where she was being treated for a pregnancy problem.
The defense had argued that Schap was in an irrational rage after learning that his wife was pregnant by his friend, and should be found guilty of a lesser charge than premeditated murder, which carries a life sentence.
The judge, Lt. Col. Charles E. Trant, recessed the court and was to hear testimony later today about mitigating factors. Sentencing would follow that hearing.
Schap's parents, Marianne and John Schap, appeared saddened by the guilty verdict.
The sergeant's wife, Diane Schap, 26, also of Baltimore, was not in court.
Mrs. Schap, visibly pregnant, testified on Wednesday that her husband brought the head into her room and said, ''Look, Diane, Glover's here. He'll sleep with you every night, only you won't sleep at night.''
Defense lawyer David Court said in his closing argument that Schap had been so devoted to his wife that he had a vasectomy after she had three miscarriages, and he hadn't wanted to cause her more pain.
Schap killed Glover at a telephone booth where Glover had been talking to Mrs. Schap at the hospital. Glover saw Schap approaching and said, ''I'm sorry,'' Court said.
''That 'I'm sorry' could well be the trigger to this whole story. ... Glover violated Schap's trust,'' the defense lawyer said.
The slaying was not premeditated murder but a ''voluntary manslaughter, a homicide,'' Court said, arguing that Schap was clearly irrational.
''How sensible is it to throw away the weapon and then take the head to the hospital?'' he asked.
Prosecutor Capt. Michael Mulligan said the slaying was ''a cold, calculated, premeditated murder'' and that Schap had ''tracked down his prey'' after figuring out what had happened between his wife and his friend.
Schap wanted revenge ''not only on Glover but also on his wife,'' Mulligan said.
The slaying happened at Sickles Army Airfield in Fulda, a central German town that had been heavily fortified by U.S. troops during the Cold War. The U.S. bases there have been closed now, and the killing took place as the number of troops was dwindling. Glover had been Schap's last remaining good friend, the defense told the court.
The court-martial took place at the U.S. Army Pioneer base in Hanau, near Frankfurt. The jury of four officers and three non-commissioned officers was made up of six men and one woman, a lieutenant colonel.