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Prosecution in Valentine's Day slaying trial focuses on records
Bank, phone documents connect Ross to slaying, prosecutors say
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When Hall County investigators were looking into Richard Schoeck’s death, they subpoenaed records from all calls placed in the vicinity of a cellphone tower near Ga. 365 on the night of his murder.

In those records, investigators found a number that was also a contact in the phone of Richard Schoeck’s wife, Stacey, according to testimony in the trial of Lynitra Ross of Austell who faces charges of malice murder.

The number belonged to Reginald Coleman, who was listed in Stacey Schoeck’s phone as “Reggie.”

Of the thousands of calls Coleman had made since the beginning of January 2010, the only call he made using that tower near Lula was to Ross, according to testimonies from records professionals for Sprint and Verizon and Hall County Lt. Sean McCusker.

Ross, too, was also a contact in Stacey Schoeck’s phone.

For the last two days, prosecutors have been presenting evidence they say demonstrates that Ross served as the “middle man” in the hired hit of Richard Schoeck, connecting Stacey Schoeck with Coleman when she expressed interest in having her husband killed, according to statements made in court this week.

Attorneys for Ross, who worked with Stacey Schoeck at a DeKalb County spine clinic, argue that the state doesn’t have enough evidence to charge their client with murder.

Today, Stacey Schoeck will appear as a witness for the state. Also charged with murder, Stacey Schoeck is expected to enter a guilty plea after her testimony.

Prosecutors for the Hall County district attorney’s office have said that they will not seek the death penalty against Stacey Schoeck if she testifies truthfully today.

It appears Richard Schoeck was shot five times on Valentine’s Day in 2010, with one of the bullets likely passing through his right hand before passing through his torso, Geoffrey Smith, a forensic pathologist who performed an autopsy on Schoeck’s body, told the court Wednesday.

The two shots to his face likely came from close range and penetrated his brain and spinal cord. Richard Schoeck, active in the Boy Scouts and an avid hot-air balloonist, had planned to meet his wife at Belton Bridge Park in Lula to exchange valentines. He was killed before she arrived.

In court Wednesday, prosecutors called witness after witness to detail bank and phone records that show Stacey Schoeck gave Lynitra Ross thousands of dollars around the time of Richard Schoeck’s slaying.

Chris Vreeland, a fraud investigator for Suntrust bank where Stacey Schoeck held numerous accounts, said that on Jan. 21, 2010, $8,000 was transferred from an account owned by Stacey Schoeck and her grandmother to another account Schoeck and Kaveh Khajavi, a doctor at Georgia Spine and Neurosurgery, had together.

Statements for the second account later showed two “miscellaneous debits” of $8,902 and $1,100, on Jan. 26 and Feb. 12, 2010, respectively.

Statements from Ross’ Suntrust account showed credits in the same amount on those same days, Vreeland testified.

Ross then wrote three checks — in the amounts of $4,900, $2,500 and $3,632.50 — out to cash between Feb. 3 and Feb. 12, 2010.

She also wrote a $700 check to Coleman on Feb. 5, according to Vreeland’s testimony.

Prosecutors showed still shots of videos in the bank that captured both Ross and Coleman cashing the checks.

The defense, in its cross-examination, pointed out the amount of money that moved in and out of Stacey Schoeck’s bank account during the same time periods.

Some $104,000 moved through the account held by Stacey Schoeck and her grandmother in January 2010.
“Mrs. Schoeck could have accessed $100,000?” defense attorney Rodney Williams asked.

“She could have, yes,” Vreeland answered.

Earlier testimony centered on tire tracks at the scene of the slaying.

On Tuesday, Investigator Cameron Durham testified that tire treads at Belton Bridge Park showed that a vehicle that wasn’t Stacey Schoeck’s came to the park before Richard Schoeck arrived to meet his wife.

Those same tire treads, which are alleged to have belonged to a 2009 Impala that Stacey Schoeck gave to Ross and later sold to Alicia Flores, passed over the treads of Richard Schoeck’s Ford truck, according to testimony.

Investigators believe Coleman was driving the vehicle on Feb. 14, 2010.

Stacey Schoeck has admitted to having an affair with co-worker Juan Reyes at the time of her husband’s death.

Both Reyes’ mother and sister-in-law testified Wednesday about Stacey Schoeck’s desire to quickly sell the 2009 Impala after her husband’s death.

Jennifer Reyes, sister-in-law of Juan Reyes, said Stacey Schoeck called her on Feb. 17, 2010, and asked if she could pick up the Impala from Ross’ house, which was near Jennifer Reyes’ tattoo shop in Austell.

Schoeck told Jennifer Reyes that Ross had initially intended to buy the car but wasn’t able to get financing, according to Reyes’ testimony.

Schoeck wanted the car picked up from Ross’ home the next day.

“Being a good friend, I said ‘of course, not a problem,’” Jennifer Reyes testified.

Jennifer Reyes never picked up the car. Ross, in the only phone conversation the two women had, wanted the car to be picked up after 9 p.m.; Jennifer Reyes could only pick up the car earlier in the evening, according to her testimony.

“She got an attitude with me, because I wouldn’t pick up the car when she wanted me to,” Jennifer Reyes said, describing her conversation with Ross.

Jennifer Reyes said Stacey Schoeck, too, “got huffy and puffy” when she told her that Ross had been difficult to deal with. Stacey Schoeck told Jennifer Reyes that she “would deal with it.”

That night, someone dropped the car off at Reyes’ tattoo shop when she wasn’t there, leaving the keys on a case in front of an employee, according to her testimony.

The following month, Stacey Schoeck contacted Alicia Flores, Juan Reyes’ mother, about buying the vehicle.

According to Flores’ testimony Wednesday, Schoeck told her that there were “too many vehicles in her driveway” and she wanted to sell the car to help pay for hospice for one of her grandparents.

“She knew I had a ’95 (Toyota) Camry that was giving me a lot of trouble,” Flores told the court.

The Impala that Stacey Schoeck wanted to sell, according to a warrant prepared for Schoeck’s arrest, had belonged to her grandparents.

And Schoeck seemed to be in a hurry to get rid of it in March 2010, Flores testified Wednesday.

According to the deal Flores said the two made, Schoeck would give Flores $3,000 for the Camry and sell the Impala for $12,000.

When Flores said she wasn’t sure she could qualify for a loan, Schoeck said she’d give her the Impala anyway.

Schoeck took the Camry and told Flores she could pay $100 to $200 a month until she paid the car off in full.

On March 16, Schoeck picked Flores up and signed the Impala over to her name.

“I could see that she was in a hurry to get rid of it,” Flores testified. “She even mentioned to me that if I couldn’t pay for the car, she would be OK with it.”

Flores made two payments — $100 in both April and May 2010 — before the Hall County Sheriff’s Office seized the vehicle, according to documents submitted in court Wednesday.

Flores hasn’t possessed the vehicle since.

Defense attorneys, in their cross-examination, questioned Flores’ approval of her son dating a married woman and how Flores was able to get the title after putting no money — only her 1995 Camry — down on the car.

“My son is a grown man, and he’s a divorced person,” Flores said. “I can’t make choices as to who he picks to date ... it was his choice to see her, not mine.”

Prosecutors will continue to present their case against Ross today at 9 a.m. in Hall County Superior Court. Schoeck is expected to be their first witness of the day.

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