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The Press of Atlantic City, (NJ)
November 30, 1994
Author: VICKI SMITH Staff Writer
Just hours before the start of a trial that would have pitted twin against twin, a Lower Township man pleaded guilty to the attempted murder of his ex-wife. The guilty plea came early Tuesday afternoon as a panel of potential jurors for the trial waited in another room.
Robert Schick, 29, of the Villas section of the township, confessed around 12:30 p.m. that he and his twin brother, Adam, planned to kill Robert’s then-estranged wife, Ellen, in 1993 for insurance money.
Adam Schick had previously confessed to stabbing Ellen Schick 22 times. But he said his brother convinced him to do it – partially by keeping him on anti-depressants for the month or so leading up to the April 20, 1993, attack. On Tuesday, Robert Schick admitted to Cape May County Superior Court Judge Carmen Alvarez that he told his twin he wanted his former wife dead.
Schick, standing beside Pleasantville attorney Steven Feldman, gave short, unemotional answers to questions from the judge. “Why did you want Ellen Schick killed?” Alvarez asked. “I don’t really know,” Schick mumbled after a brief silence.
Cape May County First Assistant Prosecutor Theodore Housel said the plea agreement calls for an 18-year prison sentence with a parole-ineligibility period of six years.
As part of the pact, Robert Schick pleaded not only to the attempted murder, but also to two counts of receiving stolen property and one count of passing a forged prescription. He will remain in custody at the Cape May County Jail pending sentencing, which is set for Jan. 20.
Adam Schick will be sentenced sometime after that, Housel said. Robert Schick’s plea came just one hour before a scheduled pretrial hearing on a defense motion to suppress evidence – specifically, a tape recording of a conservation between the two brothers.
According to Housel, authorities discovered the tape while searching Robert Schick’s home for stolen property. Inside a tape case they found a cassette labeled with the brothers’ names, he said. On it, the pair discussed what they had done to Ellen Schick in an attempt to cash in on a $100,000 life insurance policy. Adam Schick had been scheduled to testify for the prosecution during Robert’s trial.
But the prosecution discovered that Robert has tried several times to get his brother to change their story while the two have been incarcerated, Housel said. That was a key reason for Robert Schick’s plea Tuesday. According to jail records, Robert and Adam Schick met in the jail library 11 confirmed times, Housel said. That information could have led to an additional charge of witness tampering.
Ellen Schick, who has since divorced Robert and relocated, was not in court Tuesday. Housel, however, said she had hoped her ex-husband would confess and spare her the ordeal of a trial. Authorities say she was asleep at her home on 116 Oak Ave. in the Villas when she awoke around 5 a.m. to find a knife-wielding Adam Schick stabbing her.
Ellen Schick was in bed with her 2-year-old son at the time, but the boy was unhurt. Adam fled when Ellen awoke, leaving her bleeding heavily. She managed to call 911 for help.
Ellen and Robert Schick had been married for about 10 years before the stabbing.
Record Number: 9411300142