Warrant cites financial motive in slaying of East Dundee grandma

  • Richard Schmelzer

    Richard Schmelzer

  • Mourners placed flowers outside the East Dundee home of Mildred "Dodie" Darrington, 85, who was found stabbed to death in her home on July 18. Court records suggest her grandson, Richard Schmelzer, of Texas, killed her because he stood to gain half of her estate.

    Mourners placed flowers outside the East Dundee home of Mildred "Dodie" Darrington, 85, who was found stabbed to death in her home on July 18. Court records suggest her grandson, Richard Schmelzer, of Texas, killed her because he stood to gain half of her estate. Daily Herald file photo

 
 

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.

by signing up you agree to our terms of service
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

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.

0 Comments
Related Coverage
 
Article Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.