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April 10, 2012 at 11:16 AM

Bellevue man pleads not guilty to wife’s hatchet slaying

A 71-year-old Bellevue man charged with killing his wife with a hatchet last month pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder during his arraignment this morning in King County Superior Court.

Prosecutors allege Boeing retiree James Schumacher killed Jean Schumacher, also 71, in their Bellevue home sometime between March 19 and 21. He then packed his car, withdrew thousands of dollars from his bank account and took his wife’s Pomeranian to a kennel, all in anticipation of fleeing, according to prosecutors.

Instead, Schumacher walked into the Bellevue Police Department on March 23 and told officers he’d killed his wife and hid her body under her bed, prosecutors allege.

“The attack was a culmination of decades of verbal, mental and physical abuse perpetuated by the defendant against his wife,” Senior Deputy Prosecutor Sean O’Donnell wrote in charging documents.

Schumacher is being held in the King County Jail in lieu of $1 million bail. A case-setting hearing is scheduled for April 25.

Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: Bellevue, homicide, King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office

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