Timothy Jacoby

For me this was a strange case. I do believe the person who committed the crime is rightfully behind bars but I am unsure that I feel that everyone involved is, or ever will be held accountable. I tried to dig deeper with my research than I normally tend to do for this one, just to see if I could not determine if anything else has been done with the case. By all appearances the case seems to be closed.

On March 31, 2010 police showed up at the home of Monica Schmeyer's in Glenville Pennsylvania in response to a hang up call to 911. They would find Monica shot in the head inside the home. A few of her neighbor would describe seeing a man walking to and from the home. One of those neighbors saw the man walk towards a silver van.

As is customary one of the first people that the investigators interviewed was Monica's ex-husband, Jon Schmeyer. They had recently divorced and the the ophthalmologist was paying Monica $1,700 a month and other expenses while she lived in the home that the two had once shared. Investigators looked into Jon Schmeyer and checked his alibi. On the morning of March 31st he had met a woman named Sara Powell at a restaurant and was seen on surveillance cameras. Schmeyer and Powell belonged to a social group called The Orange Shorts Society that often met at Hooters to simply socialize together. It would be claimed that this was the first and only time that Schmeyer and Powell would be seen together outside the group. Powell was engaged to another member of the group, Timothy Jacoby. All that was said about the meeting between the two was that they “discussed financial matters.” It was unclear just what that was to mean or what it entailed. After the two met they went to meet with their group at Hooters. Jacoby would not attend.

As they dug a little deeper into Schumeyer and who he associated with they looked into Powell also. Powell did not work but on the day before the murder she had deposited close to $2,500 into her account. I can only assume that the deposit was made in cash considering that prosecutors seemed to be unable to determine where the money came from. Powell would claim, although I believe unreasonably, that the money “could have” come from her parents who often helped pay some of her bills. Not only did investigators find the timing of the deposit interesting, they found that the amount was higher than she had ever deposited previously. It was unclear if investigators spoke with her parents to confirm this deposit. From everything I found pertaining to this money it appears that it was never completely clear exactly where it did come from.

However, while digging into Powell they would also apparently look, or at least plan to look into other members of the social group, including Powell's finance, Timothy Jacoby. While checking into Jacoby they would determine that he looked much like the man that Monica Schmeyer's neighbors claimed to have seen near the home that day and he had access to a silver van through his employer. Investigators had looked at surveillance cameras from businesses and had seen a silver van head into the direction of Monica's home around the time of her murder and a short time later believed they saw the same silver van coming back from that direction. While the surveillance video was grainy and a license plate number could not be determined, one of Jacoby's co-workers would identify the van as being one belonging to the company based on other characteristics.

Eventually investigators would decide that Jacoby was the man they were looking for and in 2012 he would be charged with first degree murder, burglary, robbery and tampering with evidence. By the time he went to trial in 2014 they would claim that aside from the witnesses they had DNA consistent with Jacoby under Monica's nails. The defense would argue that the results were less than conclusive. They wold also claim to have found .32 caliber shells at the home Jacoby shared with Powell and at a shooting range on his parents' property that came from the same gun as the one used at the murder. At trial both Jon Schmeyer and Sara Powell would testify for the prosecution. By this time Jacoby and Powell were no longer together. In fact, it appears that it was Powell who had first told investigators that Jacoby had not been at the group the day of the murder.

Through testimony given by Jon Schmeyer and Sara Powell it was said that Schmeyer was disgruntled about paying Monica the large amount of money every month from the divorce settlement. It was also determined that the money Schmeyer gave his ex wife was in the form of cash because she did not have a bank account. The prosecution would claim that Monica kept money in generic white envelopes and that one was missing from the scene of the crime. However, to be fair I am unsure just where this evidence for sure came from and if it was ever determined just how much was taken or how soon it had been after Jon Schmeyer had given her money. The defense would harp on the fact that when Jon Schmeyer heard of Jacoby's arrest he had said “I'm responsible.” On the stand Schmeyer would say that he made this statement because he felt as if the only way Jacoby could have even known about Monica was through him. While the defense argued that it was Schmeyer who would benefit most from Monica's death he argued that the alimony amounts he was paying were to expire in a year and was not enough motive to have her killed. He never argued that he was not upset over the money he was paying or that their divorce was an easy one.

The defense of course argued the DNA evidence, saying it was not as conclusive as we often see in cases in the results and left open the possibility that it belonged to someone else. It seems they attempted to argue with the co-worker that identified the van but asides from those things it appears that their defense was based on Jon Schmeyer, arguing that he was responsible. The problem with that is that Schmeyer was seen on camera at the time of the murder. Even if he had been involved in some plot to murder Monica it was clear that he was not the perpetrator that committed the crime. That does not exactly leave Jacoby in the clear when apparently he was nearly always at the social group, except for that day.

In the end the jury would side with the prosecution and Timothy Jacoby would be sentenced to death. I did a quick search on statistics when it comes to the Pennsylvania death penalty. This is a state I have not dealt with a lot and I know that other states, such as Florida and California, are either having issues with their death penalty laws or like Oregon, just simply do not seem to be executing prisoners. Both seem to be true in Pennsylvania. Since the reinstatement of the death penalty in 1976 only three inmates have been executed in the state and all three of them had waived their rights to appeals, in essence asking to be executed. The last was apparently in July of 1999. While 183 prisoners were on Pennsylvania's death row in 2015 the Governor filed a memorandum to the law which in essence suspended executions until the law was looked into. Much like Oregon it appears that Pennsylvania continues to hold capitol murder cases in which the death penalty is asked for, and which costs taxpayers much more money for the trial and the housing of the prisoners, but there appears no plans for executions. 


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