Tuesday, August 7, 2007

No parole in dragging death


VIERA, FLORIDA - A Brevard Circuit Court judge shook her head Monday as she sentenced convicted killer Samantha Schmidt to life in prison for the 2004 robbery and dragging death of an Indialantic woman.

"This is a tragedy of a life ended, and a tragedy of a future ended," Judge Meryl Allawas said before handing down the mandatory life prison term for first-degree felony murder and a concurrent 15-year sentence for robbery in connection with the April 30, 2004, death of Linda Geiger.

Schmidt, 23, is not eligible for parole.

"There are no winners or losers," the judge said. "There's just tragedy."

A jury convicted Schmidt in June for what prosecutors said was one in a string of robberies in 2004 carried out by the West Melbourne resident and her boyfriend Brandon Bennett during a drug binge.

Prosecutors said Geiger, 56, was killed after she chased Bennett, who snatched Geiger's purse from her shopping cart outside a Melbourne Wal-Mart and jumped into a pickup driven by Schmidt. Geiger grabbed hold of the vehicle's passenger side door and was run over and dragged 60 feet, authorities said.

Bennett, 24, was sentenced to 25 years in prison last year after pleading guilty to second-degree murder for his role in the incident. Schmidt rejected a similar deal that could have set her free before age 50, prosecutors said.

On Monday, Schmidt, clutching a tissue, apologized to the Geiger family.

"Every day for over three years, I wished to myself that I could give her back to you," Schmidt said through tears. "If I'd only known she was there, I would have helped her."

Schmidt also lambasted Bennett for his role in the incident.

"I'm no longer the lost child who sat in that truck and obeyed the orders of a drugged-out, abusive man," she said.

Schmidt's address to the court went against the advice of her attorney, Dan Ciener. A motion for a new trial is pending with the 5th District Court of Appeal.

During the trial, Ciener denied that Schmidt planned the theft with Bennett, and said Schmidt was not aware Geiger was hanging onto the vehicle when she followed Bennett's order to speed out of the store lot.

Before the sentencing, Schmidt's parents also offered the Geigers their condolences. The couple told the court of a "friendly, courteous" Schmidt who was an accomplished equestrian, but whose life changed "dramatically" when she met Bennett.

Schmidt's mother, Constance Schmidt, blasted the media for its portrayal of her daughter as a "monster" and said Schmidt "was a victim, too."

Prosecutors can charge first-degree felony murder when a death results from the commission of another felony, even if the death is unintentional, assistant state attorney Susan Stewart said. The state declined to pursue the death penalty.

During her victim impact statement, Geiger's daughter, Heather Geiger, said her mother had taught her to take responsibility for poor choices -- something she believes Schmidt has not done. She asked that Schmidt receive the harshest sentence allowable.

Schmidt still faces separate charges for allegedly forging checks stolen during other robberies in the days before Geiger's death.

22 comments:

hotchef 014 said...

I am appalled and saddened that the U.S
Court system can't do better than that. I
Believe in rehabilitation not mindless retribution
Samantha is a human being you would not
Keep an animal locked up for life can't we rise above
Our enemies and show compassion in this case?

Anonymous said...

Seems like she should have received a sentence no more severe than what her accomplice got. Of course this depends on assuming as facts that:

Her accomplice was a drugged out abusive man; and,
She wa unaware the victim was being dragged.

Life without parole is not the punishment when someone is (1) forced to commit the crime and
(2) did not intend any harm to the victim.

Anonymous said...

After meeting Samantha, I can tell you that she is a beautiful woman inside and out. There is no way she meant to hurt anyone. She deserves to have her life back!!

Anonymous said...

Its a tough situation, if someone would harm or kill my loved one i would expect nothing but the harshest punishment.... But i know samantha she wouldnt or is not capable of killing someone.. She has made some wrong choices in her life, drugs is one of them,shes sick and needed help unfortuntly she didnt recieve the help she needed on time...Its a sad story it really is. Beautiul, Smart girl locked up

Anonymous said...

a good reminder to let go money,property during a robbery

Anonymous said...

don't do the crime if you can't do the time...she got what she deserves

RHIANNON said...

i DID TIME WITH SAMANTHA AND READ HER CASE SHE IS A GOOD GIRL AND DESERVES TO BE FREE. sHE WAS CONTROLLED BY A MONSTER OF A BOYFRIEND.

Anonymous said...

She is manipulative woman, using people inside and outside the prison. Writes people for money, with promises of "when she gets out". Uses other inmates and even the guards for what she wants. She trades her body for favors and canteen products, and is quick to laugh about the situation when no one related to her case is around to make herself feel tough. Do not be fooled by these women in prison, they are a WORLD of different when its just them and the staff. You would be ashamed of MOST of your mothers/daughters/family if you could see them every day. I doubt the state of florida corrections department would be over 90 million dollars in the whole if all these people were really victims of "abusive drugged out" counterparts. There is nothing in the case about toxicology or psychology being a factor. Wake up people. Sometimes people just do really bad shit for no reason and surprise us all.

Anonymous said...

I would like to know more about what the person above is referring to. I love Samantha and do not see this kind of person at all. I sure hope your wrong about her!!!! Do you know her??

Anonymous said...

I knew samantha for many years before this incident occured and she is not the girl the media makes her out to be. I also know the idiot that she was manipulated by and who kept pushing the drugs at her constantly .If you ask me he should have recieved the sentence she got and he r the sentence he got. I THINK THEN JUSTICE WOULD HAVE BEEN SERVED.

Anonymous said...

No one is talking here about the victim. "Lindy" was a friend of mine for years. She was kind, funny, loved to sing karaoke..had a beautiful granddaughter who she adored and a daughter she loved
She was a sister, a mother a grandmother and friend to many. She was wearing a wrist splint that got caught as she was at her car, when bag was snatched. They New she was there..she was yanked right out of her sandles when that girl grappled her purse. Broad daylight!! She is lucky she is allowed to live..my friend was not.

Anonymous said...

I have personally had the opportunity of meeting sam and she is a beautiful person. She does many things in Lowell, where she is currently incarcerated, such as bible studies, and leads a fitness group for other women there. She deserves a second chance. We all make mistakes, we just dont all get caught. i love you sam! Hang in there

Anonymous said...

Sam is one of the few people I can say truly deserves a second chance. Love this girl dearly.

Anonymous said...

She is using you. You are a fool.

Just my thoughts said...

I to was incarcerated with Sam in the county jail and yes she used a lot of people. Staff and inmates. I also seen where she again followed the wrong people to fit in. Yes I do believe in 2nd chances. I seen a lost little girl that didn't know how to lead but to follow. It seemed as though she had no confidence in herself. I sometimes wonder how her home life was and why she felt as though she did things to fit in. She was a beautiful girl but had low self esteem.

Kristin White said...

Sammy was a beautiful person. I knew her personally through out my childhood. She taught me and my sisters how to ride and horse and gave us lessons in her spare time. We looked up to her! We always wanted to be "just like Sammy"! She was a talented, young and great, caring person. I remember when she met Bennett and the hardships she was facing being involved in a BAD relationship. I feel so sad for the family who has lost a loved one. But I know Sammy and she could not have purposly have done this or been aware under any circumstances. She made a mistake and I know there should be consequences but life in prison is harsh I believe. We love you Sammy and remember all the amazing memories and all that you have taught us as such young girls.

H Vert said...

I can't believe people still read and comment on this article. Schmidt was offered the same plea deal as Bennett she did not to take it! That is on her. I feel she fully deserves the sentence she got. I lost my mother 15 days after my 29th birthday, my daughter lost her only grandmother 24 days after her 8th birthday. Now every April when it should be a happy time of birthdays I am sad and still remember EVERYTHING about that day. Let's not forget the life sentence that Samantha Schmidt gave to myself and my daughters! All the times I've had or my daughter has great things happen and she is not there to share in the moment.

palmbayite said...

All these years later, i do still read these comments...for a variety of reasons. I knew the offenders, both. I wish i knew Linda though. She sounds like a wonderful lady, and an example of what a TRUE victim looks like....
If Sam wanted less time, then she should have taken the deal offered. That is the problem with not taking responsibility for our actions... i think she really believed she would be able to get away from the horror of her choices merely because she didnt INTEND for it to end in Lindas death. THAT is the true challenge of growing up-realizing that no matter the intent, our spur-of-the-moment decisions sometimes have permanent consequences.
just in her choosing to fight this case, you can see the immature magical thinking.
Irregardless of Brandon and his "abusive" ways, we are to be held accountable for our decisions in life. No matter what our intent may be. Quite frankly, if she was a victim of some madman, then i am glad she is locked up, where no other madman can make her hurt me next. If it was her own free will, than again she is where she belongs before she hurts me next "without meaning to"... THATS the problem with not taking reaponsibility for your decisions and intent- if you didnt mean to and it turned so bad, why wont it happen again (since it is out of your control that it happened, THEN IT CAN HAPPEN AGAIN)...
either way, Linda is gone, but at least someone else can be safer

Unknown said...

I made some bad choices following behind an abusive man the age of 18. A promising career following in the footsteps of all my family members into the military until I met this man. With poor choices I committed crimes that sent me to prison. And I don't think I would have ever rose out of the depression in the dark places I was in if it wasn't for meeting Samantha Schmidt. Even in prison the light that shines from this young lady it's phenomenal. She has a beauty within for helping people and being the most selfless person I've ever met in my life. The changes she made and had me face is the reason that after all of the trials and struggles I went through has made me so accomplished even after leaving prison. My confidence and self esteem comes from meeting the Lord and I met him through Samantha Schmidt.

Dena Hawkins said...

You must have been somebody who had it really rough in prison. Maybe you weren't even locked up so you don't know what it's like or how it feels. Or maybe you were somebody who hated Samantha because she had no enemies and people who know her case feel that her sentence was unfair and they stand behind her and send her money and put money into a charity to help her with legal fees. You were probably just somebody who stood on the outside and seen a beautiful girl who didn't let a sentence in prison Steel her hope and joy or robbed her of her kindness or love toward people. You must have been somebody who envied her because you're miserable inside and it shows ugliness on the outside. I had a lot of officers who looked out for me and helped me and they're my friends now on Facebook. Officers are humans too and when they see somebody that is genuinely a good person they will step out and help and be a friend... I'm sorry nobody sees that in you

Dena Hawkins said...

Everyone in life has made a mistake. We all have made a decision that led to consequences we did not ever think could happen to us period situations that play themselves out in the worst way possible that we never believed could happen to others or ourselves. Samantha Schmidt was on drugs and after binging a few days was passed out in the driver's seat of that truck when her boyfriend went inside that store with money in his pocket and came out without even planning grabbed that poor woman's purse and from that decision the situation and consequences was a life... A beautiful life... Lost. I met Samantha Schmidt and what she instilled in me from the many years of knowing her... Definitely have to say she saved my life. Her actions everyday toward people are so genuine that I believe deep down inside the pain from taking a life runs over into selflessly blessing people and building their confidence. Sometimes we go into a relationship thinking that is going to be this wonderful thing and we fall in love with it... But after the abuse starts and we never walk away because we still have this hope that if we do better for today for them our love is enough to change them it will turn into what we always imagined with this person we love. In the Heartbreak we start to believe we can't do any better and then we start to think this is what we deserve and you can't leave. The Younger You Are for some reason the easier it is for this to sink deep down. Samantha Schmidt was still a kid. She made a decision to stay but she didn't realize that those consequences of staying would hurt anybody else. She was just in love and settled for it hurting herself. What happened to her victim Samantha lives with everyday. Her remorse does not come from hoping that the right person we'll see it and feel it and change her sentence. She hurts deep inside for a life that was taken because of a decision that she made. Yes she was offered the same deal as her co-defendant but she was passed out in that truck when he jumped in and woke her up screaming at her to hurry up and drive. If she would have known I believe In My Heart she would not have done that but she had no idea what he did. I love Samantha Schmidt for all the encouragement and the love that she showed me through praise dancing exercising and taking the time out to talk to me when she sent me down. I watch that woman help people that nobody else would even talk to because they didn't have anything to give. And I believe in my heart if Samantha could literally give her life for that woman she would because she knows that I think you deserve to live that day and the decisions in place that Samantha was in at that time in her life she didn't deserve life. She knows who she is now and I believe that God intended for her to be put away for a while separated from an abusive relationship to find out who she is and that was never going to happen on the road that she was on. I believe that Samantha has served a lot of time and God has used that time to build a woman that should be out in society giving back what he built inside of her.

Anonymous said...

Wow, not even sure what brought me here tonight, but here I am. Reading all of these 'wonderful things' about a woman (she was not a little girl) who KILLED another woman. Period. Fortunately for me, I do not know either of the offenders. I never got to meet Linda either, but I'm certain she was an amazing woman. I'm certain because I know her daughter and granddaughters. They would not be the wonderful people they are if it weren't for Linda, I'm sure. But while you all are going on about how great Schmidt is, do you even think for a second about the REAL victims? About how they can see your comments? About how none of you are thinking of THEIR life sentences? My friend lost her mom. Not in the way many of us have or will lose ours after years and years and time to prepare. No. She got a phone call one day and life changed forever. Not because of something she did. Not because of something her mom did. But because of the actions of two complete strangers who took something that didn't belong to them and then took a life too. I sincerely hope that they both have to think about what they did every day for the rest of their lives. I hope it haunts them. Jail isn't enough when you take a life.