ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — Neighbors in a quiet north St. Louis County community wonder if a random violent murder could have been prevented.
It happened right on the victim’s own front porch. Police said the killer didn’t go far to find his target.
The fatal attack happened on the quiet Berkely street of Kathlyn where prosecutors say a killer lurked right next door to an elderly person who simply opened her front door to find out what was making a loud noise.
“She went outside to check on what was going on from what we can see, and at some point, she was attacked. She was defenseless,” said St. Louis County Prosecutor Wesley Bell.
Bell’s office charged 31-year-old Isaac Heath with first-degree murder for Heath’s alleged attack Wednesday morning. Heath reportedly lived alone in a home, where a sticker now marks the front door saying, “Not approved for occupancy.”
Police and prosecutors said he attacked his neighbor in the house right next door, killing retired nurse Eileen Schnitker on her front porch.
“It’s just tragic to see something happen like this for no reason that we can see,” Bell said.
A probable cause statement from the Berkeley Police Department states: “The defendant was observed standing on the victim’s porch swinging a bat and striking something. A witness heard the defendant say, ‘That felt good,’ after he stopped swinging the bat. The victim, Eileen Schnitker, was found deceased on her porch with injuries to her face and head. The victim also suffered stab wounds to the stomach. The defendant was arrested at the scene.”
Many residents on the block said they were too shaken up to talk. Neighbor Sheila Jackson said it’s a very quiet street.
“Too much doesn’t happen here in this neighborhood,” she said. “I’m overwhelmed how this ever happened.”
The St. Louis County prosecutor also offered his condolences to the victim’s family.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family, but we are going to also – in addition to our thoughts and prayers — we are also going to hold this individual accountable for his actions,” Bell said.
The defendant’s criminal history is as quiet as the street. No priors appear in Missouri court records. He’s now locked up in the St. Louis County jail on a $750,000 cash-only bond.