Suspect in elderly Novi woman's murder was on parole for manslaughter
6:19 PM, Jan 14, 2014
Bernice Schaufele was excited for a big move. The 84-year-old Novi woman was planning on moving out of her condo on West Glen Haven Circle and heading to North Carolina where she'd be close to one of daughters. But Bernice would never make her much anticipated move.
One of Bernice's daughters found her dead on the first floor of her home Monday around 2:45 p.m.
According to the Oakland County Medical Examiner's office, Bernice Schaufele died from "near strangulation" and a stab wound to the neck.
The 46-year-old suspect, a parolee, lives with his mother close-by and piqued a police officer's interest after he began asking questions as the officer cordoned off the area around the scene of the crime.
The man was taken in for questioning and during the execution of search warrants at his home and garage, police found small valuables allegedly stolen from Bernice.
The suspect was released from a Michigan prison in 2012 after serving time for manslaughter. The case surrounded a 1998 homicide in Detroit and the original charge against him was First Degree Premeditated Murder, but he pleaded no contest in 2006.
Action News is withholding the man's identity until a warrant has been signed. But online court records show the man first served time in a Florida prison for a 1997 case that involved an armed robbery, burglary and, at least, an attempt on someone's life.
Action News is trying to find out if the Florida case also involved a death. A clerk from the Leon County Courthouse was unable to tell if the charge that reads "1ST DG MUR/PREMED. OR ATT.(ATTEMPTED)" actually involved a homicide. The crimes took place in 1997, but, for reasons that remain unclear, the man wasn't convicted until 2002.
After his release from prison in Florida, the man was returned to Michigan where he ultimately pleaded no contest in the manslaughter case.
It feels like this is "somebody else's life," said Sharon Schaufele, one of Bernice's daughters, about the family's devastating loss.
Bernice and her loved ones were excited about what was supposed to be her upcoming move to North Carolina.
We're told after Bernice's husband died 22 years ago and she loved spending time with her daughters and enjoyed shopping.
The suspect in her murder could face a judge as early as Wednesday.