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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

Man suspected of breaking into ex’s house with ax arraigned on assault charges

UPDATED: Thu., July 2, 2020

A Spokane man pleaded not guilty to assault and burglary charges after allegedly breaking into his in-laws’ home the day she filed for divorce and attempting to strangle his father-in-law.

Carl J. Schneider, 33, was arraigned on charges of first-degree domestic violence burglary and second-degree domestic violence assault on Tuesday. Schneider declined to comment on the case.

On the afternoon of June 15, Schneider showed up unannounced at his in-laws’ house near Seven Mile in north Spokane, according to court records.

Schneider and his wife, who have a 3-year-old son, separated in September 2019. Since the separation, the couple’s son has lived with his mom and her mother and stepfather.

Just before 4 p.m. the wife heard a car door slam outside her house, according to court records. She told police she saw Schneider walk toward the front door of the house. Knowing Schneider had been served divorce papers earlier that day, she locked the front door to prevent him from coming inside.

After being arrested, Schneider said he had called his wife earlier in the day to see his son because he had not seen the child in three weeks, according to court records.

“This whole scenario began when the grandparents took his child that he shares with their daughter and refused to give the child back,” said Schneider’s attorney, Joe Kuhlman. “It was supposed to be his residential time that was agreed upon by the parties.”

The wife then took her son into the basement soon after Schneider arrived to remove him from the situation. While in the basement, she heard her father-in-law say, “You’ll be in big trouble if you do that,” then the sound of glass shattering, the wife told police.

The father-in-law told police he saw Schneider appear at the back sliding glass door before Schneider used an ax to break the glass, according to court records.

Schneider told police he warned his father-in-law three times he would break the door before shattering the glass.

Schneider entered the house and threw the ax on the floor, the father-in-law told police. The father-in-law said he was scared Schneider would try to hurt someone else in the house, so he attempted to physically contain him. That’s when he knocked the father-in-law to the ground and began hitting him, according to court records.

When police arrived, Schneider was on top of the father-in-law with his arms around his neck, according to police.

Officer Garth Craigen said he believed Schneider to be “actively killing” him, according to court records. Craigen used a Taser on Schneider, who then released the father-in-law.

The father-in-law was taken to Providence Holy Family Hospital to be treated for his injuries. The victim’s son, David Shadden, said his dad spent two days in the hospital.

“He’s doing fine now,” Shadden said. “He’s just pretty bruised up.”

After being arrested, Schneider told police that the father-in-law hit him back and that every time Schneider tried to get up, the father-in-law pulled him back down. But the victim’s family said they see the incident much differently.

“We’re trying to actively push for attempted murder charges,” Shadden said. “I honestly believe that if he had been let in the house, we would have been looking at a homicide situation.”

Kuhlman, Schneider’s attorney, said there is “no basis for attempted murder.”

Schneider was released on a $75,000 bail and was given permission to move back to his home in Worland, Wyoming, while he awaits trial.

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