Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Larissa Schuster

Larissa takes the stand


Jurors had the opportunity to judge Larissa Schuster's credibility for themselves when she took the stand in her own defense. All in all, she would spend roughly five days on the witness stand trying to convince the jury that Fagone had acted alone in the killing of Tim Schuster.

Larissa flatly denied the murder charge: "No, I did not kill my husband." She testified that she couldn't believe her ears when Fagone had confessed the murder to her on July 12: "I heard him say something like 'there had been an accident and Tim is dead.' I thought he was joking." She said that she had not asked him about specifics or report him to police because she had not wanted it to interrupt her scheduled family vacation to Missouri and then Disneyworld. She admitted helping Fagone move the body off her property

As for the $2,000 payment to Fagone, Larissa said it had been for babysitting Tyler and housesitting while she was away. When confronted with the profane voice mails and her overall treatment of Tim, Larissa sobbed at times and said she regretted being so mean to her husband she wished she could take some things back: "It is something I'm really ashamed about. You have to realize that is something... a result of many accumulative things."

Through several days of tough cross-examination, Larissa stuck to her contention that she never solicited Fagone to kill her estranged husband. The reason CCRL had ordered so much acid, she maintained, was that it had been needed to clean a large order of laboratory glassware.

Was her testimony enough to sway the jury? A strange courtroom twist would suggest that it might be.

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