Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

November 6, 2013

Schneider pleads to Tulsa charges

Broken Arrow man accused of murdering NSU professor

TAHLEQUAH — Prosecutors in Tulsa County have reached a plea agreement with a Broken Arrow man accused of murdering a Northeastern State University professor earlier this year.

Joshua John Schneider, 33, is facing first-degree murder and first-degree arson charges in Cherokee County for the death of Tiffany R. Maher.

After a widespread manhunt earlier this year, Schneider was captured near Tulsa, where he was formally charged with child neglect, eluding police, and leaving the scene of a crash involving property damage. He has been jailed there since his arrest.

Authorities allege Schneider led police on a chase before he ultimately left his child behind and fled with his girlfriend, Heather Black, when he became a suspect in Maher’s death.

As part of Schneider’s guilty plea to child neglect, eluding and leaving the scene of a crash, he was given 15 years in state prison.

District 27 First Assistant District Attorney Jack Thorp, a prosecutor in Cherokee County, said Tuesday that he will soon begin working on getting Schneider to Tahlequah to face allegations that he killed Maher and stole some of her belongings before trying to set her body and house on fire in last May.

“We don’t know yet if he’ll be sent to the Department of Corrections before we writ him back,” said Thorp.

Thorp said he is still going through the entire investigation.

“It’s pretty lengthy,” he said.

He expects the District Attorney’s Office will soon decide what process to take to get Schneider to Cherokee County.

According to an affidavit filed by Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Vicky Lyons, pawn shop records and computer data helped link Schneider to Maher’s death. Schneider allegedly pawned some of Maher’s possessions in June and July, and had other belongings in his truck and at a storage building.

Computer records indicated Schneider met Maher through an online dating website, according to Lyons’ affidavit. Authorities believe Schneider used various names to meet women online.

Schneider – listed by the alias of Joshua John Griffith in one court document – has allegedly confessed to an ex-girlfriend that he visited Maher, and might have been sought for questioning in Maher’s death.

Maher’s official cause of death has not been released, but authorities have said they do not believe she died as a result of the fire set at her house.

jnewton@tahlequahdailypress.com

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