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Thursday, October 7, 2004

[LA] Louisiana State Trooper Heath Henry Schumacher resigned during probe into his killing girlfriend Tamatha Jo Osborne, but was never charged.

Tamatha "Tammy" Jo Osbourne, 23, of Slidell.

Trooper Heath Schumacher said he shot Tammy Osborne in the head, twice, AFTER he disarmed her.

...Osbourne was pronounced dead at the scene of multiple gunshot wounds, according to the Sheriff's Office... SCHUMACHER TOLD DETECTIVES OSBORNE FIRED FIRST, BUT HE WAS ABLE TO KNOCK THE GUN AWAY, LEE SAID. THE BULLET LANDED IN THE DOOR FRAME. SCHUMACHER THEN FIRED TWICE, HITTING OSBORNE ONCE IN THE FOREHEAD AND ONCE IN THE CHEEK.... Both guns belong to Schumacher... [Tamatha's sister] Adell Osborne, 41, said Schumacher physically abused and threatened her younger sister. She scoffed at his claim of self-defense...

EXCERPTS FROM THE NEWS:

Man says that he shot in self defense
State trooper kills girlfriend in his apartment, cops say

Times-Picayune
By Wayne Knabb and Aesha Rasheed
Monday January 12, 2004
A state trooper shot and killed his girlfriend Sunday in his apartment in Metairie, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office said. Heath Henry Schumacher, 29, called the Sheriff's Office at 1:39 p.m. and said that he had just shot a woman in Apartment 19 at 2101 Richland Ave., Sheriff Harry Lee said. The woman has been identified as Tamatha Osbourne, 23, of Slidell. Osbourne was pronounced dead at the scene of multiple gunshot wounds, according to the Sheriff's Office. Lee said that the trooper told police he shot Osbourne in self-defense during an exchange of gunfire between the two. Schumacher was questioned by homicide investigators in the Sheriff's Office, and, based on his account of the shooting and evidence found at the crime scene, no charges will be filed at this time... Osbourne was killed by Schumacher's .40-caliber duty weapon. She fired a semi-automatic handgun. Lee said detectives received two separate accounts that three shots were fired. No special measures will be taken in the investigation, the sheriff said. "It is what it is, no matter who is involved," Lee said. "There will be a full investigation"...

State trooper kills girlfriend in his apartment, cops say - Man says that he shot in self-defense
Times-Picayune
Author: Wayne Knabb and Aesha Rasheed
January 12, 2004
...The woman has been identified as Tamatha Osbourne, 23, of Slidell. Osbourne was pronounced dead at the scene of multiple gunshot wounds... Schumacher was questioned by homicide investigators in the Sheriff’s Office, and, based on his account of the shooting and evidence found at the crime scene, no charges will be filed at this time...

State Trooper Allegedly Kills Girlfriend In Self Defense
Heath Henry Schumacher Has Not Yet Been Charged
Times-Picayune
January 12, 2004
...[Sheriff's spokesman Col. John] Fortunato said Schumacher reported the shooting at 1:39 p.m. Sunday and he told authorities that Osbourne first pointed a weapon at him and fired. Osbourne was pronounced dead on the scene of two gunshot wounds. Fortunato said authorities discovered two semiautomatic handguns at the apartment... He said three shots were apparently fired -- one by Osbourne and two by Schumacher. Fortunato said Schumacher would not be booked by the sheriff's office, but the case would be turned over to the Jefferson Parish district attorney...

Trooper, woman fought previously
Disturbance occurred hours before killing

Nola.com
By Michelle Hunter
Tuesday January 13, 2004
Deputies broke up a run-in between a state trooper and his girlfriend the night before he shot and killed her in his Metairie apartment... Osborne allegedly followed Schumacher and another Metairie woman to the parking lot of the Morning Call coffee shop and confronted them, Lee said. Osborne, whose appearance Lee described as "highly intoxicated," jumped onto the hood and into the passenger window of Schumacher's vehicle, scratching the other woman and repeatedly punching him, ACCORDING TO A SHERIFF'S OFFICE REPORT. Neither Schumacher nor the woman pressed criminal charges, and Osborne was allowed to leave the scene by cab, he said... SCHUMACHER TOLD DETECTIVES that Osborne used a knife to inflict a small cut on his hand earlier that day, Lee said. And the COUPLE WAS ALSO SEEN ARGUING JUST MOMENTS BEFORE THE SHOOTING, which took place about 1:30 p.m. in the small downstairs living room of the two-story apartment Schumacher rented. SCHUMACHER TOLD DETECTIVES OSBORNE FIRED FIRST, BUT HE WAS ABLE TO KNOCK THE GUN AWAY, Lee said. The bullet landed in the door frame. SCHUMACHER THEN fired twice, hitting Osborne once in the forehead and once in the cheek, Fortunato said. BOTH GUNS BELONG TO SCHUMACHER... Osborne's relatives spoke out, voicing their dissatisfaction with the Sheriff's Office findings. ADELL OSBORNE, 41, SAID SCHUMACHER PHYSICALLY ABUSED AND THREATENED HER YOUNGER SISTER. SHE SCOFFED AT HIS CLAIM OF SELF-DEFENSE.. SCHUMACHER AND OSBORNE SHARED A HOME at 163 Northwood Drive in Slidell with her two children from a previous marriage, Adell Osborne said. Relatives said OSBORNE BEGAN SHOWING UP WITH BRUISES AND BLACK EYES and told friends that Schumacher HAD THREATENED TO HARM HER IF SHE EVER LEFT HIM, Adell Osborne said. "She wouldn't even know how to fire a gun," Adell Osborne said. "He didn't have to shoot Tamatha." Lee said DETECTIVES ARE CHECKING into the allegations made by Osborne's family...NEIGHBOR REBECCA DICKSON SAID SHE SAW Schumacher and Osborne arguing outside about three months ago. She said Schumacher tried to stop Osborne from driving away and was almost hit by an open car door as Osborne quickly backed out of the driveway...

OSBORNE , TAMATHA J. ‘TAMMY’
Times-Picayune January 22, 2004
Tamatha J. "Tammy" Osborne , a homemaker, died Jan. 11 of a gunshot wound in the 2100 block of Richland Avenue in Metairie. She was 33. Ms. Osborne was born in Picayune, Miss., and lived in Slidell for most of her life. Survivors include a son, Vernon L. Orange; a daughter, Amanda L. Orange; two stepdaughters, Krystal and Brittany Orange; two brothers, Phillip Mince and Richard Wislon; and two sisters, Adelle O. Williams and Lana Jean Williams. A memorial service will be Friday at 8 p.m. at Schoen Funeral Home, 3808 Pontchartrain Drive, Slidell. Visitation will be from 7 to 9 p.m.

Investigation Expands In Trooper's Shooting Of Girlfriend
FBI Says Woman May Have Been Coerced
The New Orleans Channel
January 22, 2004
NEW ORLEANS -- The FBI has joined the investigation of a state trooper who admits shooting and killing his girlfriend. Even though Jefferson Parish investigators say it appears that Heath Schumacher, 29, is telling the truth when he says the shooting was in self-defense, Schumacher has been placed on administrative leave and the investigation is expanding... OSBOURN'S FAMILY SAYS IT WAS MURDER SET UP TO LOOK LIKE A CASE OF SELF-DEFENSE... Col. Henry Whitehorn, head of State Police, said Schumacher will be on forced leave during the investigation. He said it appears that Schumacher's relationship with the woman violated agency policy. "We do have a policy that discourages and prohibits those types of activites," Whitehorn said. Lee confirmed that Osbourn made two large cash deposit into her bank account shortly before the shooting. STATE POLICE SAID THEY HAVE HAD PREVIOUS PROBLEMS WITH SCHUMACHER AND WOMEN. "We have investigated at least one prior complaint," Whitehorn said. SCHUMACHER'S FATHER WAS A LONGTIME JEFFERSON PARISH SHERIFF'S DEPUTY. Lee said that will have no effect on the investigation...

FBI looks into trooper shooting case - Family: Victim was intimidated
Times-Picayune
Michelle Hunter East Jefferson bureau
January 22, 2004
The FBI has launched an inquiry into whether a state trooper accused of killing his girlfriend had forced the woman to perform criminal acts... Osborne’s brother, Richard Wilson, said she had asked him to procure drugs for Schumacher’s use. Wilson said Osborne may have been compelled by Schumacher to participate in orgies and drug use. Reigel said such activities would fall under the civil rights investigation, but he stressed that nothing has been verified by [FBI] agents. Schumacher, a State Police narcotics agent, remains on paid leave... Shortly after the shooting, Lee said Schumacher’s claims of self-defense matched evidence found at the scene. Gun residue was on Osborne’s hand, as well as on Schumacher’s hand and face, he said. However, on Wednesday, Lee said the EVIDENCE COULD ALSO SUPPORT a theory floated by Osborne’s relatives that Schumacher killed her and covered up the crime with his law enforcement know-how. "The forensic evidence could also indicate that and five other scenarios," he said...

Getting Away With Murder In New Orleans

Blog: Friday's Child
Friday, January 23, 2004
[Excerpts] ...There are so many more but this rant is brought to you specifically by the Louisiana State Troopers and the ever present law enforcement "code of silence". On January 11th, 2004, a Louisiana State Trooper shot his ex-felon girlfriend, Tamatha Osbourne. He has neither been fired nor arrested! He claims self-defense. Give me a break! First, he wasn't supposed to be living with a convicted felon. Not only was she a convicted felon, her crime was drug dealing - he was on the narcotics squad. Louisiana State Troopers prohibit associating with drug dealers and living with convicted felons. In a press conference a spokesman said that the State Troopers "discouraged" those things. Uh ... excuse me ... prohibit means "NO" and "NO" means "NO"! Duh! A few days later they came back and said she was his informant. Well this might have justified his contact with her but let's not forget, he LIVED with her... Second, the State Trooper said he shot his girlfriend in self-defense and he then returned fire shooting her once in the forehead and once in the cheek. He said he was able to knock the gun from her hand after she shot at him. So why did he then have to pump two bullets into her head when she wasn't armed?... Third, police were called to their apartment the night before on a Domestic Violence incident. There were plenty people interrogated by the police that revealed they were always battling, that she bore bruises and cuts often and that she was terrified of him. One family member revealed she had once said her State Trooper boyfriend said he would kill her if she ever tried to leave him. She had very recently caught him with another woman... She had an ex-boyfriend that she kept in contact with and he has saved phone message from her saying she was unhappy and scared. She told family the State Trooper was extorting money, stealing evidence, etc... I listened for the next several days for further news. There was none and the incident received only a small two-paragraph mention in the local paper. Then about a week later the family of the victim spoke with one of the local news stations and said that she was murdered because she knew too much about his nefarious activities. Several more days passed, nothing. The previous week three Afro-American senior citizens robbed a bank and killed an officer in the process. Within two to three days they were IN COURT. Kill a cop - you're done for. A cop kills you - it's likely he'll go unpunished. I keep thinking to myself, "OMG - he's going to get away with it. They're going to let him get away with it."... Then I hear a report that he wouldn't be charged for murder but for violating her civil rights! What the f...!... So now, three agencies are investigating this case. The Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office (where the shooting actually took place), The Louisiana State Troopers and The Federal Bureau of Investigation. This makes me nervous as hell. All of them together just might come up with a story like she shot him and the bullets ricocheted off his belt buckle and hit her right in the head -- not once but twice! Or maybe it was a magic bullet and it actually went in her cheek and came out her forehead...

Trooper involved in shooting resigns - Girlfriend shot at Jeff apartment
Times-Picayune
Michelle Hunter East Jefferson bureau
March 2, 2004
A Louisiana state trooper accused of fatally shooting his girlfriend has RESIGNED RATHER THAN BE FIRED in an internal affairs investigation, State Police said Monday.... Osborne’s aunt, Debbie Orange, said the family is awaiting the outcome of the Sheriff’s Office inquiry and an FBI civil rights probe of allegations that Schumacher used his status as a law enforcement officer to force Osborne to perform criminal acts. "We’re willing to wait so that we can have a better opportunity for him to be prosecuted," she said.

Ex-trooper won't be prosecuted in girlfriend's death
10/7/2004, 8:16 a.m.
The Associated Press
GRETNA, La. (AP) - A former state trooper acted in self-defense and will not be prosecuted for the shooting death of his girlfriend during a domestic dispute, authorities said... Schumacher was never arrested or charged, but the shooting was investigated by the Jefferson Parish sheriff. "We believe that the evidence shows that Schumacher acted in self-defense. And pursuant to Louisiana law, such would be considered a justifiable homicide," Assistant District Attorney Steve Wimberly said...
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