STRONGSVILLE, Ohio — Prosecutors say Jeffrey Scullin Jr. shot and stabbed his future mother-in-law after several weeks of staging burglaries in her neighborhood.
They also gave details on the motive Wednesday in court after Scullin pleaded no contest to several charges including aggravated murder, murder and tampering with evidence. He previously pleaded not guilty in the October 2017 murder of beloved Strongsville teacher, Melinda Pleskovic, 49.
Prosecutor Christopher Schroeder said Wednesday Scullin shot Pleskovic three times and stabbed her between 36 and 37 times on Oct. 23. He then went to dinner with her husband and daughter, his fiance. The murder happened five days before he was to marry Pleskovic’s daughter.
Police previously said Scullin confessed to killing Pleskovic and even told them where they could find the murder weapons, a gun and a knife, and consented to the search of the vehicles where they could be found. His bloody clothes were also found in one of the vehicles.
Scullin’s attorneys previously argued that his confession and videotapes police recorded were coerced and should be inadmissible during his trial, which was set to begin Wednesday. But the judge on Tuesday ruled they would be allowed as part of the trial.
As far as a motive, prosecutors said Wednesday that Scullin’s credit card was declined 14 times by his wedding venue in the weeks leading up to the event.
The venue, which then decided to cancel the wedding, eventually contacted Pleskovic about the matter, and prosecutors said she was planning to confront Scullin about it that weekend.
Prosecutors also said Scullin showed prior calculation of the crime. When Pleskovic’s body was found by her husband, Bruce, he told a 911 dispatcher that there had been a number of burglaries in the area in the weeks prior and that they may be connected with the killing.
Prosecutors said Wednesday that Scullin called 911 to report a burglar on Oct. 19, but that it was a false report. They also said the alleged string of burglaries started when Scullin moved in with the Pleskovics.
The murder happened while Pleskovic’s 18-year-old special needs son was in the house. Prosecutors said Wednesday that Scullin had his 15-month-old daughter with him during the time of the murder.
Scullin will be sentenced on Oct. 29.