Family says Kansas man charged with wife's murder shouldn't get her money
The family of a murdered Hays woman is asking state lawmakers for help plugging a loophole in Kansas law.
Karyn Mae (Forsythe) Schumacher died last March.
"This is my sister," Susan Rohr told members of the House Judiciary Committee in Topeka Tuesday, holding up a picture of Karyn Schumacher for them to see.
Karyn's family says her husband killed her after four decades of verbally and physically abusing her.
"She said, 'Sue, he started punching me in the head,' and she showed me how he did it," Rohr said, demonstrating. "One, two. One, two. Like a boxing bag."
Rohr says over the decades, those punches caused brain damage.
"They did a brain scan. She had 10 permanent spots of brain damage, equivalent to boxers," Rohr said.
And, the coroner says, in the end, those punches were part of what killed Karyn.
According to the criminal complaint against her husband, Jay Naldo Schumacher, last March he hit her in the head and the body so many times he caused trauma and internal bleeding that led to death.
"On March 22nd, my mother was murdered. My dad was the one that killed her, allegedly," Jeremiah Schumacher told lawmakers.
So why did Karyn's son and sister end up sitting in a statehouse committee room instead of a courtroom Tuesday?
Because Jay Naldo Schumacher was named as the beneficiary on Karen's assets - bank accounts, retirement savings, everything. He was legally free to use the money however he wanted.
"When he was arrested for her murder, he easily could have come up with the ($2 million) bond, if the assets were not frozen," Rohr explained.
The family had to get a court order to freeze the assets because there's no law barring Schumacher from touching any of the money until the criminal case is wrapped up. As it stands right now, only if convicted will the law prevent him from inheriting.
Karyn's family thinks that should change.
"Why is there nothing to stop this? You know, why can he use everything? He's already been arrested. He's been charged. This doesn't make any sense," Jeremiah said.
They're asking lawmakers to close that loophole between arrest and conviction, automatically freeze the assets when a spouse or domestic partner stands accused of killing the one they should've loved.
"That's why I'm here, you know?" Jeremiah said. "I don't see this helping me, in any way, shape or form. I mean, I just... I don't. But someone down the line, it's going to help."
The lawmakers didn't have many questions during the hearing, mostly about technicalities of how this proposed change would work. No one testified against the bill.
Tuesday's hearing was only the second step to permanently changing the law. But, the proposal already has bipartisan support with state representatives from both sides of the aisle acting as sponsors.