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Courtney Christine SCHULHOFF

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
Classification: Homicide
Characteristics: Juvenile (16) - Parricide
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: February 10, 2004
Date of arrest: Next day
Date of birth: December 27, 1987
Victim profile: Steven Schulhoff, 48 (her father)
Method of murder: Beating with a baseball bat
Location: Altamonte Springs, Seminole County, Florida, USA
Status: Sentenced to life without the possibility of parole on September 27, 2006
 
 
 
 
 
 

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By Michal Horák

 

The Case of Courtney Schulhoff: View Over The Ocean

 

The Case of Courtney Schulhoff: View Over The Ocean (one year later)

 
 
 
 
 
 

Courtney Christine Schulhoff (born December 27, 1987 in Washington, D.C.) is an American female prisoner who was convicted in the bludgeoning death of her father in his Altamonte Springs, Florida apartment when she was 16 years old.

She was convicted of first-degree murder and was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole in September 2006. In 2009, Courtney was interviewed at the Lowell Correctional Institution in Ocala, Florida by RTL, a German news show, about the punishment of life without parole for juvenile offenders.

Background

Courtney Schulhoff lived in Altamonte Springs, Florida with her father after her parents divorced. She attended Lyman High School, but had dropped out and was pursuing her GED. It was there where 15 year-old Courtney met her 20 year-old boyfriend Michael Morin. Michael was on probation for car theft, and Courtney's father did not approve of their relationship. The two however, continued to date. Courtney had told Michael that her father had physically abused her.

Murder

During the early morning hours of February 10, 2004, Courtney Schulhoff's father, Stephen Schulhoff, was beaten to death inside his apartment. After the murder, Courtney and Michael reportedly drove to a McDonald's 20 miles away in Orlando, Florida using Stephen's truck. Later in the afternoon, Courtney and Michael returned to the apartment. Michael had later said that he and Courtney had planned to take Stephen's body to Brevard County and throw it off a bridge.

Shortly after the murder, Courtney and Michael were apprehended after Stephen Schulhoff's girlfriend, Elaine Bouck, had called 911. Courtney stated to police that she waited at the apartment complex tennis courts while Michael committed the murder, and she admitted to leaving the Louisville Slugger baseball bat outside the bedroom door. Michael claimed that he had tried to talk Courtney out of killing her father, to no avail.

Trials

Courtney was the first of the defendants to stand trial. Her trial began on September 26, 2006. Prosecutors alleged that although Michael Morin had committed the murder, Courtney had made it all happen. She did not testify in her own defense at the trial. The next day, she was found guilty of first-degree murder. Because she was only 16 when the murder was committed, she was ineligible for the death penalty; on September 27, 2006, she was sentenced to life without parole.

After the judge handed down the obligatory sentence, Courtney Schulhoff spoke out in open court, stating: "Your Honor, I would like to openly admit in court that Michael Morin is not the person who killed my father. I was. So, I accept full responsibility, and I accept the verdict."

Michael Morin's murder trial began in 2007. Unlike his former girlfriend, he was facing a death sentence if convicted. During his testimony, he admitted killing Stephen Schulhoff but expressed regret for the action. At the trial, Courtney also testified in Michael's defense. She had given a new deposition after her conviction, and stated that she was the one who had bludgeoned Stephen Schulhoff to death with the baseball bat. However, on April 26, 2007, Michael Morin was convicted. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole, and is serving his sentence at the Taylor Correctional Institution.

Wikipedia.org

 
 

Daughter changes story, says she killed dad

By Renee Stutzman - OrlandoSentinel.com

April 4, 2007

SANFORD -- It was a vicious, sensational slaying: Someone beat Steven Schulhoff to death in his bed with a baseball bat.

His then-16-year-old daughter, Courtney Schulhoff, blamed her car-thief boyfriend, Michael Morin.

She said they had talked about the killing, but she changed her mind. Yet, she said, Morin bludgeoned her dad as she stood outside the apartment.

For her role in the crime, a jury convicted her of murder, and a judge sentenced her to life in prison. But after her fate was sealed, she told the judge she was the real killer. And now she has provided more details.

When Morin, 23, goes on trial in two weeks, facing the death penalty, Courtney Schulhoff will give jurors that new version of events, defense attorney Jeff Dowdy said.

She provided her new account in a sworn statement Nov. 9, two months after her conviction.

That information was obtained Tuesday by the Orlando Sentinel.

"I hit my dad with a baseball bat," Schulhoff, now 19, told attorneys.

"How many times did you hit him?" Dowdy asked.

"I don't know. I wasn't really counting."

"Where was Michael when this was going on?" Dowdy asked.

"Outside with the dog," she said.

"So you're telling us, everybody in this room today, you're the one who killed your father?" Dowdy asked.

"Yes."

Steven Schulhoff was found beaten to death in his Altamonte Springs apartment Feb. 10, 2004. His bed and the wall behind it were splashed with blood. His body was near the foot of the bed, stuffed inside a storage container.

Neither Courtney Schulhoff nor Morin testified at her trial.

But both gave statements to Altamonte Springs police shortly after they were arrested. Courtney Schulhoff insisted Morin acted on his own.

"I begged him not to, oh my God," she said, according to a transcript of her police statement.

In her new version, though, she said she was angry with her father.

In her statement, she said he had raped her several months earlier, something she had not reported to police. And recently, she said, he had refused to let her drop out of Lyman High School.

She and Morin, just out of jail in a car-theft case, ran out of money, so they went back to the apartment to get her father's wallet, she said.

Without telling Morin, she decided to kill her father, who was asleep inside, she said.

She got the family's greyhound out of the house, put on baggy clothes, grabbed her father's aluminum Louisville Slugger bat and beat him to death, she said.

He did not wake up. He did not resist. The only sound he made was "like a gurgling," she said in her deposition.

Morin, she said, came inside a few minutes later, and when he saw the body, ran to the bathroom and threw up.

He tried to talk her into calling the police, she said, but she refused.

Assistant State Attorney Jim Carter would not comment on Courtney Schulhoff's new account.

"Watch the trial," he said.

 
 

After conviction, teen girl confesses in open court to killing father

Sept. 28, 2006

SANFORD, Fla. — Moments after a jury found her guilty of helping her boyfriend murder her father, a teenage girl acknowledged her guilt, but insisted her lover was innocent.

Courtney Schulhoff, 18, made the dramatic statement as a judge prepared to sentence her to life in prison without parole, the mandatory punishment for first-degree murder.

Asked by the judge if she wished to speak before sentencing, Schulhoff, who had maintained her innocence throughout the two-day trial, whispered with her lawyers for five minutes. She then sighed deeply and rose.

"Your honor, I would like to openly admit Michael Morin is not the person who killed my father. I was. So I accept full responsibility and I accept the verdict," Schulhoff told Seminole Circuit Court Judge O. H. Eaton.

Morin, 22, is to be tried next month for the 2004 baseball bat bludgeoning of Steve Schulhoff, 48. Prosecutors contend Morin wielded the bat, but Courtney Schulhoff, then 16, urged him to kill her father, who forbade their relationship. They claimed Schulhoff provided Morin with the murder weapon.

After the sentencing, defense attorney Tim Caudill said Schulhoff now says that it was she, not Morin, who swung the bat. Asked if his client was lying in an attempt to save Morin from conviction, Caudill replied, "Some people might say that, but I'm not going to comment."

Assistant State's Attorney Jim Carter, who prosecuted Schulhoff and will also try Morin's case, acknowledged that her statement would have an impact on the next case.

"I have an ethical obligation to disclose this to Mr. Morin's attorney and I will," he said.

Schulhoff is listed as a witness for Morin's trial. Asked if Schulhoff might testify during his trial that she acted alone, Carter said, "Of course she could."

Her lawyers opted not to give an opening statement or call any witnesses on her behalf. In summations, they argued that the prosecution had not proven its case beyond a reasonable doubt, but stopped short of saying Morin acted alone. In tape-recorded interviews with police shortly after the murder, Schulhoff said Morin killed her father over her objections. He has told police he blacked out during the attack but came to holding the bloody bat.

The jury of seven women and five men deliberated three hours before returning the guilty verdict. Schulhoff, dressed in a pinstripe blazer and shackled at the waist, showed no emotion as a clerk read the verdict.

Neither her mother, who was divorced from her father, nor any family members attended the trial. Her father's relatives live out of state and were unable to travel to Florida for the proceeding.

Steve Schulhoff's girlfriend, Elaine Bouck, who had been dating him for four months at the time of the murder, told the judge that the victim "was one of the most wonderful people I've ever met."

"He deserves to be remembered," she said.

At the defense table, Schulhoff appeared to wipe away tears. A moment later, she resumed her stony demeanor. When the prosecutor reminded the judge to give her credit for time served in the county jail, a formality with her life sentence, she rolled her eyes.

CourtTV.com

 
 

Sanford Trial Starts For Teen Accused In Father's Murder

September 26, 2006

SANFORD, Fla. -- Testimony started Tuesday morning in the trial of a teenager accused of convincing her boyfriend to murder her father. Courtney Schulhoff said she was upset her dad stopped letting her use his credit cards.

Schulhoff did not always get along with her father. Steven Schulhoff apparently did not approve of his young daughter's boyfriend.

It happens with a lot of teenagers, but prosecutors said, in this case, it led to murder.

Courtney Schulhoff is facing a lifetime in prison, but the young woman smiled from time to time as her murder trial opened.

Prosecutors said, two and a half years ago, when she was just 16 years old, she hatched a scheme to murder her father, Steven. He was beaten to death with a baseball bat in his Altamonte Springs apartment.

Prosecutors said Courtney supplied the bat and convinced her 20-year old boyfriend, Michael Morin, to use it.

"She set it outside the room for Michael. She got a change of clothes for Michael, so he wouldn't get his own clothes bloody, and then she sent him in to do her dirty work," said prosecutor Jim Carter.

The defense did not offer an opening statement to the jury.

At the time of the crime, Courtney Schulhoff told police her father had beaten her.

 
 

Trial to begin in Seminole slaying

A teen goes to court today in the 2004 baseball-bat beating death of her father

By Renee Stutzman - OrlandoSentinel.com

September 25, 2006

SANFORD -- Courtney Schulhoff was just 16 years old, but she grew very angry at her father when he cut off access to his credit cards.

Her boyfriend, Michael Lawrence Morin, then a 20-year-old car thief and fugitive, also was angry at Courtney's father, Steven Schulhoff, 48. Courtney told Morin her father had just beaten her, according to investigative records.

That weekend, Steven Schulhoff's skull was beaten with a Louisville Slugger baseball bat, then his body was stuffed inside a big plastic garbage can and left at the scene of the crime -- his Altamonte Springs apartment.

A grand jury indicted Courtney Schulhoff and Morin on charges of premeditated murder in the Feb. 10, 2004, slaying.

Today, Schulhoff goes on trial. Prosecutors wanted to seek the death penalty, according to Assistant State Attorney Jim Carter, but Schulhoff is too young.

However, they plan to ask for the death penalty when Morin goes on trial. It's not clear when that will be.

It's also not clear whether Morin will testify against Schulhoff.

Shortly after his arrest, he told Altamonte Springs police that Steven Schulhoff had found out that his daughter was using his credit cards for online purchases, so he cut her off, according to state records.

Morin also told police that Courtney's father mentally and physically abused his daughter, and forbade the young couple to see each other.

Courtney wanted her father killed, Morin said, but he tried to talk her out of it.

But after she placed the baseball bat outside her father's bedroom door, Morin said he walked inside and picked it up.

Then he blacked out, he told police. When he came to, he was still in the apartment but covered with blood, and Steven Schulhoff was dead. Morin rolled the body in a blanket and put it in the garbage can, he told police.

Courtney's story to police was different; both agree that she was not in the apartment when Morin grabbed the bat.

She told police that her father beat her two days before the slaying and that she and Morin plotted to kill him. They wanted to use a gun but couldn't afford one, she said.

She said she talked Morin out of the slaying, but when they went to the apartment, Morin grew angry again. She left to walk the dog, she said, and when she returned 20 minutes later, her father was dead.

Morin was arrested later that day. He had Steven Schulhoff's wallet, car keys and cell phone.

Courtney, accompanied by her mother, surrendered the same day.

Steven Schulhoff had been hit at least three times, suffering massive injuries to the left side of his head, according to former Volusia County Medical Examiner Thomas Beaver.

Jury selection begins Monday. The trial is expected to conclude by the end of the week.

 
 

Teen And Boyfriend Charged With Killing Dad

A 16 year old Altamonte Springs girl and her 20 year old boyfriend face first-degree murder charges after allegedly beating the girl's father to death with a baseball bat.

The body of Steven Schulhoff was found at his condo Tuesday. Schulhoff's daughter Courtney and boyfriend Michael Morin of Orlando are now in jail.

Courtney Schulhoff has told investigators her father beat her Sunday, prompting her and Morin to come up with a plan to kill him.

She is in the custody of juvenile authorities, while Morin is in the Seminole County jail without bond.

The teen says she left to walk her father's dog early Tuesday and returned about 20 minutes later to find Morin with blood on his clothes and a baseball bat on the ground near the front door.

She says Morin told her he had "taken care of the problem" and would kill her if she told anyone.

While Courtney Schulhoff pinned the blame on her boyfriend, Morin has told investigators he tried to talk her out of killing her father.

 
 

Seminole County Grand Jury Indicts Two in Murder of Steven Schulhoff

March 2, 2004

The Seminole County Grand Jury issued first-degree premeditated murder indictments today against Courtney Christine Schulhoff, 16, and Michael Lawrence Morin, 20, in the bludgeoning death Feb. 10, 2004 of Courtney’s father, Steven Schulhoff.

The grand jury heard from four law enforcement witnesses and one lay witness before returning the indictment, said Assistant State Attorney Pat Whitaker. Both defendants are being held in the Seminole County Jail.

Courtney Schulhoff was indicted as an adult and will face the murder charge in adult court.

 
 

Girl Arrested After Dad Beaten To Death With Bat

Pair Reportedly Confess To Role In Man's Death

February 11, 2004

ALTAMONTE SPRINGS -- A 16-year-old girl and her boyfriend have been charged with murder after the girl's 48-year-old father was found beaten to death with a baseball bat, according to Local 6 News.

Investigators pieced together Wednesday what they believe happened inside Steven Schulhoff's Crane's Roost Village condominium before the man was murdered, Local 6 News reported.

According to suspects Courtney Schulhoff, and Michael Morin, 20, Schulhoff beat his daughter after he found out she had been using his credit cards. That beating apparently prompted the girl and Morin to develop a murder plan, Local 6 News reporter Nancy Alvarez said.

Police believe Morin carried out the plan and beat Steven Schuloff to death with a baseball bat.

Authorities said that a friend discovered the Schulhoff's body Tuesday at the Crane's Roost Village condominium located at 630 Crane's Way, near the Altamonte Mall. The friend also noticed his daughter and Morin leaving the condo and called police.

Police chased the pair after spotting them in the area. The chase went through the Renaissance Shopping Center, into the Pier 1 store and finally into a movie theatre.

Police nabbed Morin at the movie theatre and the girl later turned herself in.

Both have admitted to some involvement in the man's death, according to a Local 6 News report.

Police are still searching for two people who reportedly gave Courtney Schulhoff a ride from the mall to help them piece together a timeline of the alleged crime.

 

 

 
 
 
 
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