Melissa Scholl back in court today for day one of her trial

Jurors heard a testimony from her son.

WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU)- Was it attempted double murder-suicide or was it a cry for help?

That's the central question at the trial of a Luzerne County mother accused of trying to kill herself and her two young children with exhaust fumes. 

Prosecutors say they will prove that Melissa Scholl planned the murder-suicide and would have carried it out had it not been for a bus driver who happened upon the scene. 

Her defense lawyer insists she had no intention of killing anyone, not even herself.

Eyewitness News was there when sheriff's deputies brought Scholl to Luzerne County Court today for day one of her trial.

Officials say on the night of December 9th, 2015, she put her seven-year-old son and five-year-old daughter into her 2001 Saturn, drove to a bus company parking lot on Blackman Street in Wilkes-Barre Township, and drove two hoses from her exhaust pipe into the car.

A bus driver returning from a run saw the car and stepped in, pulling the hoses from the vehicle.

In her opening statement, prosecutor Angela Sperraza told the jury:
"She texted her mother and said, 'I'm going to kill myself. I can't go it alone anymore.' She planned it our and carried it out. She kissed and hugged her children telling them it would be the final time she did."

But Scholl's lawyer, Larry Kansky, insisted that she had no intention of killing herself or the kids. He told the jury:
"This was a cry for help. She did text her mother about committing suicide, but did not say when or where. Investigators jumped to a quick and wrong conclusion."

Kansky says he will also point out that the key evidence in the case is either missing or tainted- Scholl's car was destroyed and the hoses were washed.

There was a lot of drama in the courtroom when the prosecution's first witness took the stand, Scholl's son. Some people in the courtroom are questioning whether his testimony helped his mother more than the prosecution.

He told the jury:
"She said she wanted to kill herself so she called my grandma and wanted her mom and dad to pick us up. So she didn't want to harm us in anyway."

That statement surprised prosecutors who told the jury it was the first time Scholl's son had said she did not want to "harm us," meaning him and his sister.

In a tape recorded interview done several days after the incident, her son, then seven-years-old, told investigators:
"My mom put hoses into the window and squeezed it tight. She told us she was going to kill herself. The bus driver came and pulled out the hoses."

That statement left out the part where he said, 'she did not want to harm us.'

Prosecutors say Scholl's son has lived with his grandparents since the incident. The trial continues tomorrow and we are expecting to hear from the bus driver.

The defense team has not said if Scholl will testify in her own defense. She faces ten to 20 years if convicted. The trial is expected to wind up by the end of the week.


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