Son will attend Schreuder funeral

Convicted mother, son were estranged until a year ago

Published: Friday, April 2 2004 12:00 a.m. MST

Estranged for many years from the woman who persuaded him to kill her wealthy father 26 years ago, Marc Schreuder will attend his mother's funeral in San Diego today.

Marc Schreuder and Frances Berenice Schreuder reconciled about a year ago. She died Tuesday at age 65 of chronic lung disease.

"She should be left in peace," Marc Schreuder said Thursday in a brief telephone interview.

Marc Schreuder, then 17, shot his grandfather Franklin Bradshaw in the back of the head on July 23, 1978, in Salt Lake City at his mother's behest. A New York socialite, Frances Schreuder feared her penny-pinching father was about to disinherit her because he disdained her lavish lifestyle. Bradshaw built his fortune in the oil and auto parts industries.

At his mother's 1983 trial, Marc Schreuder testified that he begged her not to make him kill his grandfather, but she threatened to turn her back on him if he didn't. He said she told him: "Look, Marc, it is not really killing. It is the right thing for us to do."

Convicted of second-degree murder in 1982, Marc Schreuder spent 12 years in the Utah State Prison before being paroled. Frances Schreuder served 13 years for capital murder.

The crime sparked intense media coverage and led to two books, two television miniseries and a recent documentary on Court TV.

"This is something that has seemed to last in people's minds," said Jonathan Coleman, author of "At Mother's Request: A True Story of Money, Murder and Betrayal."

Coleman said it was extremely difficult for Marc Schreuder to testify against his mother who ruled over him "like Svengali."

"She really controlled him and he did everything he could to please her and be in her good graces."

Coleman said Marc Schreuder wavered about testifying up until the eve of the trial. He needed to distance himself from his mother to get out from under her spell, he said.

"The deciding factor in his decision to testify was Lavinia (his younger sister) and the feeling that she needed to be protected from Frances."

Lavinia Schreuder, who lives in San Diego, and older brother Larry Schreuder, who lives in Los Angeles, also are expected to attend today's funeral.

Lawyer Paul Van Dam, who later would become Utah attorney general, represented Marc Schreuder during his 1982 trial. He described the teenager as tense and guarded.

"He was the most psychologically abused kid that I had ever come across in all my years of being in the business. It was pretty horrendous."

Marc Schreuder, now 43 and living in Provo, politely declined to delve into the past. He earned a building construction degree from Salt Lake Community College while in prison but currently works for a nutritional and personal-care products company.

"I see no gain in this for me. I paid my debt. What's the point?"

Marc Schreuder does not believe it was his words alone that convicted his mother. He said he corroborated testimony from his father and what turned out to be a bogus hit man his mother had hired in an earlier attempt to kill Bradshaw.

"I was just one small piece," he said. "It was a complex case."

Bradshaw's wife, Berenice Jewett Bradshaw, reportedly spent some $2 million on attorneys for her daughter and grandson. But Marc Schreuder said with resentment that most of the money went to his mother's high-priced New York lawyers. "She totally spent everything on Frances," he said.

Frances and Marc Schreuder saw each other at Berenice Bradshaw's funeral in 1996 but did not speak, Coleman said.

Coleman said he was pleased to learn from Frances Schreuder's sister Marilyn Reagan, of New York, that Marc Schreuder had reached out to his mother in the past year "because it wouldn't have come the other way around."

"I'm very proud of Marc for making the effort to reach out to her. She would not reach out to him."


E-mail: romboy@desnews.com

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