Family suspected wife in Valentine’s Day slaying

On Sunday, Stacey Schoeck cried during a balloon release honoring her late husband.

On Tuesday, she was one of three people arrested in connection with Richard Schoeck's Valentine's Day death.

"It was all a lie," Richard Schoeck's sister, Carol Fillingim, told the AJC on Wednesday. "It was all set up."

Stacey Schoeck, 38, and two alleged co-conspirators -- Reginald Coleman, 36, and Lynitra Ross, 30 -- are in the Hall County jail without bond, Hall County Sheriff's spokesman Col. Jeff Strickland said. Their first court appearances were Wednesday.

"All three perpetrators are believed to be co-conspirators in the murder of Richard Schoeck and all had individual roles in the death," Strickland said.

It was supposed to be a quick exchange of Valentine's Day cards, Fillingim said. The Schoecks, who lived in Snellville, had been with their respective families and picked a halfway spot to meet. Belton Bridge Park in north Hall County was a place they had been before, but not at night.

It was dark when 45-year-old Richard Schoeck arrived. He was shot to death, and Fillingim says he probably didn't see the gunman.

Stacey Schoeck called 911, telling dispatchers she'd found her husband shot multiple times. She thought he'd had a heart attack, Fillingim said. Stacey Schoeck was taken in for questioning, and she apparently told police she had cheated on her husband, Fillingim said.

Stacey Schoeck didn't call her husband's family until two days later, Fillingim said. By then, a funeral was being planned.

Family members initially told the AJC that investigators believed the shooting was a case of mistaken identity. Now, Fillingim said too many clues pointed police to Stacey Schoeck.

Fillingim said her family isn't sure why Stacey Schoeck wanted her husband dead. But she believes that police have the right three people in custody. Stacey Schoeck knew Coleman and Ross, both of Austell, from her job at a medical office.

Richard Schoeck, an Auburn University graduate, was a Cub Scout leader and lifelong artist, his family has said. He was also a hot air balloon pilot.

His family is glad to have answers to the questions surrounding Richard Schoeck's death.

“It will not bring Richard back," Fillingim said. "But we suspected that she probably had something to do with it."

** Read the AJC’s original story on the murder.