Warrant cites financial motive in slaying of East Dundee grandma
A Texas man accused killing his grandmother at her East Dundee home in July made his first court appearance Wednesday, and his attorney said he will argue for a reduction in his client's $5 million bail.
Richard Schmelzer, 41, of Frisco, a suburb of Dallas, faces up to 60 years in prison for the murder of Mildred "Dodie" Darrington, 85, who was found stabbed to death in her home on the 100 block of Aldis Lane.
Schmelzer stood to inherit half of her estimated $1 million estate, made $13,000 in unauthorized cash advances on Darrington's credit card, recently asked his parents for loans, and his alibi didn't check out, according to a search warrant in which investigators sought his DNA.
The search warrant also applied to Schmelzer's cellphone as investigators sought images, texts, GPS coordinates and other data.
Schmelzer was the executor of Darrington's estate, and her financial planner talked to Schmelzer days after her death and "he thought Richard seemed unusually interested in the payout process and did not seem to be grieving the death of his grandmother," according to the search warrant.
Schmelzer was charged in August with Darrington's murder and made his first formal court appearance in an orange jail jumpsuit and handcuffs in front of Judge Susan Clancy Boles.
Defense attorney Joshua Dieden said he planned to file a bond reduction motion that could be heard at Schmelzer's next court date on Oct. 16.
Darrington's relatives, including her daughter, Angela Schmelzer, of St. Charles, attended the brief hearing and declined to comment afterward.
In the search warrant, investigators noted that there was no forced entry at Darrington's home, and $3,000 and a large amount of jewelry were not stolen.
Schmelzer was one of a few people who had a key to the home, was the executor, stood to inherit about half of Darrington's estimated $750,000 to $1 million estate, failed to repay a $20,000 loan from his dad and had asked his mom for a $120,000 loan, according to the search warrant.
Schmelzer's wife and children were in Montana at the time of the murder, and he went to a conference in Frisco but his alibi didn't check out: He did not take a test at the conference on the day he said he did, workers at a bar he said he visited said he was never there, and tollway records showed he didn't drive on Texas roads in a three-day span, according to the search warrant.
Schmelzer's wife tried to call him after learning Darrington was killed, but the calls went straight to voice mail; Schmelzer later told police he left his phone at home during the conference, the warrant said.