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Sunday, April 04, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.
Socialite was convicted in killing of rich father
By Dennis McLellan
Frances Berenice Schreuder, 65, a former New York socialite who was convicted of first-degree murder in 1983 for manipulating her teenage son to kill her elderly millionaire father because she feared being disinherited, has died.
Ms. Schreuder died Tuesday of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at a hospice in San Diego.
The high-profile, 1978 murder of Franklin Bradshaw, a Salt Lake City oil and auto-parts magnate, has been described as a sordid tale of greed, manipulation and betrayal.
Ms. Schreuder, a member of the board of directors of the New York City Ballet who lived in a luxury apartment on Manhattan's Upper East Side and was known to buy $40,000 earrings at Tiffany's, reportedly began plotting to kill her father after he grew tired of supporting her lavish lifestyle and threatened to cut her from his will.
The 76-year-old Bradford's own lifestyle was anything but lavish. Although he reportedly was worth at least $10 million, he was known for being both frugal and eccentric: He drove a rusty pickup, bought his clothes at thrift shops and used an empty beer carton as a briefcase. After he was killed, a stained $10 bill was found tucked inside his shoe.
Marc Schreuder testified during his mother's trial that, at her direction, he and his brother, Larry, had stolen as much as $200,000 in cash, checks and stock certificates from their grandfather while working at his Utah auto-parts warehouse during the summer of 1977.
He also testified that there were various plans to kill his grandfather that summer, including one in which his mother gave him drugs to put in his grandfather's oatmeal in hopes of causing him to have a heart attack. Despite his mother's orders, he testified, he did not go through with the plan.
Later, after Frances Schreuder hired a hit man who backed out and disappeared with his $5,000 payment, she turned again to Marc, who was 17.
He testified that she told him he would have no home to return to if he didn't kill his grandfather. He also testified that she told him, "Look, Marc, it is not really killing. It is the right thing to do for us."
On July 23, 1978, Marc Schreuder entered his grandfather's warehouse and shot him in the back of the head.
Considered a model inmate at the Utah State Prison, she earned two psychology degrees from Utah State University under an inmate-education program funded by her mother, Berenice Jewett Bradshaw.
Ms. Schreuder's mother, who reportedly spent at least $2 million in defense of her daughter and grandson, died in 1996 at age 92. Although she had spent or donated much of her husband's money after he was murdered, she left her daughter about $1 million in a trust that provided her an annual income.
Born in Salt Lake City, Ms. Schreuder attended Bryn Mawr College near Philadelphia, but reportedly was suspended in 1958 for stealing and forging checks and was told she could return only if she received psychiatric help.
She married her first husband, Vittorio Gentile, a pearl merchant, in 1959, and they had two sons.
Besides her two sons and a sister, Ms. Schreuder is survived by Lavinia Schreuder, a daughter from her second marriage to Frederik Schreuder.
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