“BATHTUB MURDERS” Suspect to Face Execution Nearly 13 Years After Grisly Killings


Police Detective Tommy Le Noir recalls the shock that swept the city in 1996 when two young ladies were discovered strangled in the bathtubs of their east Arlington apartment complex.

“There was a lot of fear in the community and in the Police Department,” Le Noir stated. “The concern is that you do not want this to happen again. At the moment, there was widespread terror in those residential buildings. People streamed out in droves. It was just a wonderful experience.”

Dale Devon Scheanette, 35, is scheduled to be executed on Tuesday night, nearly 13 years after the crimes, for the so-called “bathtub murders” of Wendie Prescott and Christine Vu.

On Friday, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles overwhelmingly decided against requesting that Gov. Rick Perry reduce Scheanette’s death sentence.

Richard Alley, a Fort Worth attorney who represented Scheanette on appeal, stated that he had not represented him for more than a year.

“I was withdrawn at his request,” Alley explained last week, adding that Scheanette has since handled his own appeals, which have so far been fruitless. “I was the attorney on duty. He then took over from there.

Four years later.

It took police four years to link Scheanette to the crimes, which Le Noir attributed to strong criminal science.

A fingerprint was left at Prescott’s residence, but authorities were unable to match it immediately. Using modern technology, investigators were able to connect it to Scheanette. They also compared his fingerprints to those found in Vu’s residence.

“We strongly suspected it was the same person without the forensics,” Le Noir stated. “Eventually we discovered a genetic relationship. We knew we had the same suspect. We also found similar latent fingerprints at both scenes.”

Scheanette was also involved in sexual assaults in Lancaster and at the University of Texas at Arlington.

However, it was the grisly killings that captured the public’s attention – and horror.

Prescott, 22, and Vu, 26, were Scheanette’s neighbors in the Peartree apartments. Prescott had scheduled a Christmas shopping excursion with her sister for December 24, 1996. When her family did not hear from her, an uncle visited her flat.

There, he discovered Prescott naked in a partially filled bathtub. Her wrists and feet were bound with duct tape, and she had been strangled and raped, according to authorities.

Prescott’s murder occurred three months after Vu, an elementary school teacher, was discovered dead inside her apartment. She, too, had been raped, strangled, and abandoned in her bathtub.

Prescott’s aunt, Brenda Norwood, expressed her hope that Scheanette had come to terms with his misdeeds and took responsibility for them.

“I hope he asks God to forgive him in order to save his soul,” said Norwood of Mansfield. “I had to forgive because I couldn’t live with it. I can’t resent him for what he did since that won’t get Wendie back. “You need to move on.”

Norwood said her niece worked as a teacher’s aide at Mansfield’s Erma Nash Elementary School while still attending a beauty college. She enjoyed dressing up and spending time with family and friends, according to her aunt.

“Wendie was a beautiful young lady,” Norwood added. “She was constantly hugging people. She was quite affectionate. She adored people, not things. She treated others as she wanted to be treated.

Witnessing the execution

Norwood stated that she and the rest of Prescott’s family have no intentions to see Scheanette’s execution.

“I have no desire to go down and witness that because that will not enhance my life at all,” she stated. “You have to let the law of the land prevail.”

But Vu’s family has confirmed that they will be present. Not for vengeance against her murderer, but to commemorate her life as per WFAA

“Most of us, we have had closure,” said Dr. Kim Kuo, Vu’s sister, who expects to attend the execution.

“We’ve accepted [Christine’s death], but I will go mainly to bear witness for her.”

Kuo stated that the family is delighted that her sister was able to fulfill her lifelong dream of becoming an educator. Vu was a third-grade teacher at Moore Elementary in Arlington. According to Kuo, Vu frequently placed their younger siblings in front of a chalkboard, taking care of their instruction.

“She loved children,” Kuo said. “I wished she had had a chance to have her own kids.”

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