News

Actions

Did bloody fingerprints lead police to an accused Virginia Beach killer?

Posted at 7:53 PM, Jan 14, 2015
and last updated 2015-01-15 05:46:44-05

Virginia Beach, Va. - A prosecutor said today police have had a killer's bloody fingerprints 24 years, but only recently did they match them to a person.

Cold-case detectives have charged an Erie, Pennsylvania, man with killing his Virginia Beach neighbor in 1990. But the prosecutor also conceded Robert Malick, a husband and father, has no criminal record of any kind. He's lived in the open, going about his business, hiding from no one for the past quarter century.

His wife Karen testified at his bond hearing today. In December, she told us she simply can't believe -- won't believe -- what police told her about her husband.

“You can't do something like that and be this amazing father and husband,” says Karen.

In a weird twist today, Commonwealth's Attorney Colin Stolle told a judge in great detail where police found the bloody fingerprints used to link Malick to the crime scene. But then after court, he backtracked, saying he was wrong. His spokeswoman said police do have fingerprints, but she could not say specifically where they were found.

When detectives found Robert in Pennsylvania, he at first lied about his relationship with his teenage neighbor. He later admitted the two had sex the night she disappeared. Her body was found hidden in layers. First a trash bag, then a sleeping bag, and then finally another trash bag.

Joan Schoppaul's family attended the hearing but did not speak after.

In court, Karen told the judge what she told us last month, that her husband is needed very much at home, and she can't take care of their disabled son by herself.

But the judge ruled Robert Malick will stay in jail. His lawyer will appeal.

Related:

Wife of man charged with 1990 Virginia Beach murder: “You can’t do something like that and be this amazing father and husband”

Virginia Beach police make arrest in 24-year-old homicide case