Man who killed his wife and two nephews in 1987 dies in prison

LICKING, Missouri – A man serving multiple life sentences for murdering his family died Saturday.

James Schnick, 73, was pronounced dead at South Central Correctional Center in Licking, according to a news release from the Missouri Department of Corrections.

Schnick was originally charged with seven counts of first-degree murder, but four of the charges were dismissed by the state before trial. He was convicted of the murders of his wife, Julie Schnick, and his nephews, Kirk Buckner and Michael Buckner.

Early on the morning of September 25, 1987, Julie Schnick, Steve Buckner and Jeanette Buckner – Julie’s brother and sister-in-law – as well as the four Buckner children were shot. The children were between two and fourteen years old.

According to United Press International, Schnick blamed the murders on his 14-year-old nephew, but later confessed to all seven deaths.

James Schnick accused:

The trial judge sentenced Schnick to death in all three cases, but in 1992 he was sentenced to three life sentences.

The cause of death is still unclear and an autopsy is still pending.