Calgary

Murder accused says he was only helping ex-girlfriend fulfil videotaped wishes to die: document

Calgary resident Joseph Schluter is charged with first-degree murder in what appears to be a bizarre story involving a woman he was still in love with and her videotaped wishes to die, according to a document obtained by CBC News.

Joseph Schluter says Cindy Enger begged him to shoot her, according to ITO

Cindy Enger, right, is shown in 1997 with her then-husband and son. Enger had become severely depressed and had deteriorating health, police were told by the friend accused of killing her. (Bill Keay/Vancouver Sun)

Calgary resident Joseph Schluter is charged with first-degree murder in what appears to be a bizarre story involving a woman he was still in love with and her videotaped wishes to die, according to a document obtained by CBC News.

Schluter, 45, told police he shot Cindy Enger after she begged him for more than a month to help her die, according to an Information to Obtain (ITO) — the investigation's application for a search warrant.

Enger's body was found in the basement of her home on Cramond Close S.E. on Jan. 24. She had been shot in the head several times. Schluter was charged more than a month later.

An ITO is based on interviews with police, witnesses and Schluter. The allegations in the ITO haven't yet been proven in court.

One of the key pieces of evidence sought by police was a cellphone with a video of Enger saying the killing was her idea, and that she and Schluter — who dated in 2006 but remained friends — loved each other. 

Schluter told police that Enger had become severely depressed and deteriorated to the point where she couldn't climb stairs or clean her home.

On Jan. 24, 2016, police were called to Enger's home after her ex-husband had tried for two days to drop off their son, but she didn't come to the door. Out of concern, he called the police.

Schluter becomes a suspect

Police found Enger in the laundry room, lying on top of a fleece blanket wearing pink pajama pants with six shell casings scattered around her head and clear plastic covering the appliances around her.

Enger's glasses had been placed on the washing-machine.

Schluter was a suspect early on — his name appeared on Enger's call display, the pair had dated, he had told people he was with her the day before she died, and investigators discovered he had access to a firearm like the one used in the killing.

Enger's ex-husband told homicide Det. Scott Gutterson he had received a call from Schluter asking about his son. 

On Feb. 18, the executor of Enger's will, Michael Wild, told Gutterson that he had also been contacted by Schluter asking about the police investigation 

'She wanted to die'

Schluter told another homicide detective that he had an on-again, off-again relationship with Enger. He said he had filed for divorce from his wife with hopes of getting back together with Enger, but he halted divorce proceedings after realizing she wouldn't take him back.

In the months before her death, Schluter said he bought Enger groceries, and one time, he took her autistic son with him.

He said Enger "was so depressed she wanted to die," and had tried unsuccessfully to kill herself. Schluter said he tried to get Enger to change her mind by telling her he loved her.

Twice, according to the court document, Schluter set into motion plans to kill Enger as per her wishes, but he backed out.

When he changed his mind, Schluter said Enger got upset and begged him to reconsider, and she said he was being selfish.

On Jan. 24, Schluter bought a movie ticket as an alibi, went to Enger's house, and the pair prepared the basement with the plastic and blanket.

'We said we loved each other'

"Schluter said a prayer and asked for forgiveness," reads the ITO.

"We said we loved each other," Schluter told police.

He put earplugs in and killed Enger, shooting her several times, "to make sure she was gone and so she didn't suffer."

Schluter says he burned the clothes he was wearing and told police there was a cellphone video of Enger that was shot the day she was killed. He said it was her idea, and that it was the only way to end the pain.

After detailing the killing for police, Schluter was then arrested for murder.

In June, Schluter was released on bail pending trial. A preliminary inquiry has been set for January 2017.

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