Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Larissa Schuster

Verdict

 

On December 12, 2007, after more than two days of deliberation, the jury came back with its verdict: Larissa Schuster was guilty of first-degree murder with a special circumstance of financial gain. While the defendant looked on, seemingly emotionless, Larissa's mother, Dee Ann Foreman, sobbed loudly. Tim's mother, Shirley Schuster, dabbed tears of relief before breaking into a smile. Shirley told reporters "I know my family is smiling right now as well as Tim." Shirley also reported she had called Kristin with the news and that Larissa and Tim's only daughter replied: "Hallelujah." Larissa's conviction came a year to the day after James Fagone's.

After trial, Larissa's attorney Roger Nuttall delayed the sentencing several times while investigating potential problems with the jury. Nuttall submitted a motion for new trial positing that Judge Ellison had made a reversible error when he had removed the juror days before closing arguments. Nuttall requested that Judge Ellison contact the jurors and ask them if they would speak to the defense for purposes of fleshing out his appeal, but Ellison refused. Nuttall appealed that decision, and ultimately the California 5thDistrict Court of Appeals ordered Ellison to contact the jurors on the defense's behalf, but every juror and alternate opted not to meet with Nuttall. Even with that huge setback, Nuttall soldiered on with his motion accusing the jurors of discussing the case before deliberations had begun. Speaking about the jury's refusal to cooperate, Nuttall told reporters, "That certainly limits the extent of the investigation we've done. But it doesn't destroy the argument because what we already know suggests that there was juror misconduct."

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