A Spokane man was sentenced to more than two years in prison Friday for breaking into his in-laws’ Indian Trail home using an ax and attempting to strangle his father-in-law the day his wife filed for divorce.
Carl Schneider, 35, pleaded guilty to domestic violence burglary and assault hours before his trial was set to begin Tuesday. He was allowed to remain out of custody until his sentencing Friday, when Spokane Superior Court Judge Timothy Fennessy sentenced him to two years, six months in prison.
The sentence was part of a plea agreement reached by Schneider’s attorney and the prosecution.
In June 2020, Schneider broke into his in-laws’ home with an ax and attempted to strangle his father-in-law, the same day his wife, from whom he had been separated since 2019, filed for divorce.
Patricia Shadden, the victim’s wife, told the court Friday that they have been “hypervigilant” ever since the incident, and that it triggered ongoing heart problems for her husband.
“It’s hard to be at peace in our home now,” Shadden said.
Shadden said she hopes Schneider’s time in prison will bring a new start for everyone involved.
Whitney Schneider, Carl Schneider’s ex-wife, told the court that the incident tainted years of memories in her childhood home.
“The actions made my childhood home a crime scene,” she said.
She now has “paralyzing anxiety” whenever she hears a door slam, and has spent the last two years helping her young son process the trauma of that day.
She said she believes the plea agreement was fair, and hopes Schneider’s time in prison will lead to healing and rehabilitation.
Schneider told the court the incident was the worst day of his life.
“I wish everything that happened on that day in every aspect never would have happened,” Schneider said.
Judge Fennessy then addressed the victims in the courtroom.
“I don’t hear bitterness or anger, but I do hear fear,” Fennessy said. “I too hope that this is an opportunity to begin anew.”
Fennessy said he would accept the plea agreement, sentencing Schneider to 30 months in prison, the middle of the standard sentencing range of 26 to 34 months.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox
Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.