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Prosecutor: Slain Bellevue Woman Lived in Fear of Husband for Decades

James Schumacher, 71, who walked into the Bellevue Police Department headquarters last week to confess to his wife's murder, was charged with first degree domestic violence murder on Tuesday.

James William Schumacher, 71, was formally charged Tuesday in King County Superior Court with first degree domestic violence murder of his wife Jean, whom he confessed to killing last week.

Charging papers filed today say that Jean Schumacher, 71, told police two years ago that she had been living in fear of her husband for four decades of marriage.

Schumacher walked into the Bellevue Police Department with a hatchet, Bellevue police said. The couple had been married for 46 years and have two adult children.

Schumacher , but their children painted a different picture of him in a 2010 No Contact petition that his wife filed against him, according to the charging papers filed by King County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Satterberg.

According to the charging papers, Schumacher's wife and their children described living in fear of him.

"Your Honor, I am very afraid of my husband although I don't like him to know it," Jean Schumacher wrote in 2010.

Your Honor, I am very afraid of my husband although I don't like him to know it. Early on in the marriage, he told me that if I ever tried to leave him he would kill me and has threatened me numerous times these past four decades. I have a deep fear of him poisoning my food with his medications or rat poison or choking me as he once tried when he was drunk years ago or using one of his handguns on me, especially now since he was arrested by the Bellevue Police. I've had nightmares of him coming after me and I'm running like in slow motion with weights on my feet and can't run fast enough to escape him.

Their children backed up her claim. Their daughter wrote:

My mother lives in constant fear of him an(d) believes he will beat her or otherwise cause her debilitating and irreversible harm and death.

Their son wrote:

My mother is living in fear of him. She is convinced he will hurt her or kill her if possible as retribution for his arrest. I believe he cannot be trusted to not harm her or others over whom he has physical control.

According to court papers filed last week, Schumacher told police on Friday that his wife threatened to divorce him and then went to her bedroom and locked her door last Tuesday night.

The next morning, according to Schumacher's account, he selected a hatchet from the garage to "Scare the s*** out of her" and then entered Jean Schumacher's locked bedroom with a nail, where she lay on the bed. Schumacher said that he thought his wife was awake but ignoring him, and he hit her with the hatchet five or six times in the head.

James Schumacher told police that he cleaned the hatchet, took their bloody clothes and stuffed it into a large plastic bag and put it in the closet, and then shoved Jean Schumacher's body under the bed, according to court papers.

He contemplated suicide or locking their home in the 100 block of 159th Avenue Southeast and driving away, but instead, he turned himself in and confessed.

Schumacher, who is being held in King County Jail in lieu of $1 million bail, will be arraigned on April 10 at 8:30 a.m., according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office.

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