CRIME REWIND: Killer's pawning of items got him caught

Maher

A killer's carelessness that prompted him to pawn his victim's belongings ultimately got him caught by authorities.

On May 31, 2013, a Northeastern State University officer discovered Professor Dr. Tiffany Maher dead inside her home at 102 Kupsick St. after friends asked authorities to conducted a welfare check. Maher reportedly missed an academic conference at which she was scheduled to speak.

According to reports, officers smelled smoke inside the home before they discovered Maher. Her three cats were also found dead in the home. The perpetrator stole Maher's personal belongings, and set fire to her house and body in an attempt to cover up the evidence.

Authorities in Tulsa discovered Maher's missing vehicle at an apartment complex on June 3, and the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation worked on lifting fingerprints from the car.

Tulsa police checked pawn shop records and found that Maher's Kindle Fire had been pawned by Joshua Schneider on June 28. The man provided a Broken Arrow address during the transaction. Schneider registered the Kindle Fire with Amazon Inc. under the name "Big Daddy," just three minutes after the device was unregistered from Maher's name. He provided an email address, phone number and a physical address - the same address used when the device was pawned.

Records showed Schneider also hocked Maher's HP netbook in June, and returned in July to recover the item. More of Maher's belongings were found in a storage unit.

Arrest warrants for Schneider were obtained for false declaration of ownership in a pawn, and failure to register as a sex offender. Authorities received information that Schneider left his truck in the parking lot of Hillcrest Hospital South before he got into a car and fled. Schneider tried to elude police, and the car and Schneider's 2-year-old child were found abandoned in a wooded area.

Maher's checkbook was found inside Schneider's truck, and her credit card and driver's license had been found near a road in Tulsa.

Schneider's identification card was found with Maher's belongings. He and his girlfriend, Heather Black, remained on the lam for several days before she turned herself in, and both were taken into custody.

Schneider was quickly charged with Maher's death, and Black testified against him during his trial.

Schneider told Black that he had been "blackmailed" by Maher when she learned he was an unregistered sex offender. According to Black, Schneider disclosed to her the details of Maher's murder and confessed to killing her. Prosecutors said Maher had befriended Schneider through an online dating website.

Authorities believed Maher's hands and feet were bound and Schneider used a pillow case to kill her before he tried to burn the evidence.

Experts believed the lack of oxygen inside the house extinguished the several fires Schneider had set.

Schneider was found guilty in 2015 of killing Maher, setting fire to her home and body, and stealing her belongings. Jurors recommended he serve a sentence of life without parole for murder, and two life sentence for arson and larceny.

District Judge Darrell Shepherd ordered Schneider to serve three consecutive life sentences.

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