Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Larissa Schuster

Larissa's own words

 

Jurors watched more than two hours of Larissa Schuster's police interrogation in which she portrayed her husband as volatile and controlling but worried about how Tim's disappearance would affect their young son. Then Bob Solis was called to the stand to talk about his friend Tim and contradict Larissa's disparaging account.

Larissa Schuster with defense attorney Roger Nuttall
Larissa Schuster with defense attorney
Roger Nuttall
Elsewhere in that videotaped interview, Larissa told detectives she prayed that Tim would "get over this hostility" during the divorce, but manicurist Terri Lopez gave a different version of Larissa's prayers. She told the jury that Larissa "told me that she prayed every night he would die." Hairstylist Becky Holland sometimes did Larissa Schuster's hair recalled her client ranting about her estranged husband during appointments. Initially, Holland chalked it up to run-of-the-mill divorce animosity, but as the hatred escalated, she thought, "This is starting to get a little creepy. It was so intense."

Jurors had the opportunity to hear that intensity for themselves as prosecutors played nearly two dozen voice mails from Larissa to Tim Schuster in open court. In addition to the many derogatory names she called her husband, were veiled threats about the couple's relationships with their children: "I'll tell you what, this is going to come back to haunt you... You talk about me alienating your kids, you're doing a damn good job yourself. And you just wait, it's coming, sweetheart." Whereas prosecutors pointed to the messages as proof of her murderous rage, defense attorneys portrayed the calls as an unfortunate outgrowth of a bad divorce. In fact, defense attorney Roger Nuttall emphasized, the voice mails were left between May and November 2002 a full seven months before Tim's murder.

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