Supreme Court Upholds Frances Schreuder Murder Conviction
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) _ The Utah Supreme Court on Monday upheld the murder conviction of Frances Schreuder, a former New York socialite accused of browbeating her teen-age son into murdering his millionaire grandfather.
The court ruled that Marc Schreuder’s testimony against his mother was well corroborated. The judges also ruled that false testimony about his arrangement with prosecutors was corrected and did not taint the conviction.
Mrs. Schreuder, a former member of the New York City Ballet board, was sentenced to life in prison for the July 23, 1978, shooting death of her father, Franklin Bradshaw, 76.
″We’re disappointed in the result,″ said defense lawyer Ron Yengich. ″Frances is disheartened, but she maintains her innocence.″
Yengich said he planned to file for a new hearing before the state Supreme Court, as well as a writ of habeas corpus in the 3rd District Court seeking Mrs. Schreuder’s release.
Yengich said he had obtained new evidence, which he declined to detail, supporting allegations of misconduct by prosecutors.
Schreuder was convicted of second-degree murder for shooting Bradshaw in the back and head with a .357-magnum handgun.
He later testified at his mother’s trial that she coerced him into killing Bradshaw to prevent her father from cutting her from his will.
″The evidence in this case is clearly sufficient to sustain a conviction of first-degree murder,″ wrote Chief Justice Gordon R. Hall. ″The evidence and all the inferences that can be reasonably drawn from it ... establish beyond a reasonable doubt that defendant had her father murdered.″
The case was the subject of two best-selling books last year. Both are being made into TV miniseries.
The court’s ruling was welcomed by Deputy Salt Lake County Attorney Ernie Jones, who prosecuted both Schreuder and his mother.
″That’s super,″ said Jones. ″We felt like we had a good case and felt it shouldn’t be overturned, but we’ve been suprised before.″
The Utah Board of Pardons has given Mrs. Schreuder, 48, a parole date of October 1996, two years after her 25-year-old son is scheduled to be released on parole.
The court ruled that testimony from a friend of Mrs. Schreuder’s, Richard Behrens, corroborated Schreuder’s assertion that he shot his grandfather on orders from his mother.
Behrens had testified he put Mrs. Schreuder in touch with Myles Manning, who had agreed to kill Bradshaw for $5,000 in 1977, but backed out and spent the money anyway.
Hall rejected defense attorneys’ contention that Jones knowingly allowed perjured testimony when Schreuder testified during his mother’s trial that no promises were made to him in exchange for his testimony.
Under cross-examination Schreuder admitted that Jones had promised to appear to his first appearance before the Board of Pardons.
In a concurring opinion, Justice I. Daniel Stewart said Jones violated the State Bar Association’s code of professional conduct by allowing Schreuder’s testimony to stand until cross-examination.