Judge denied protective order to woman who was later shot to death

Jon Rohde

A Bartholomew County judge denied a Columbus woman’s request for a protective order against her estranged husband just 10 days before police found both of them dead from gunshot wounds inside a local residence.

On Dec. 9, Bartholomew Superior Court 2 Judge Jon Rohde denied Julie A. Schmidtke’s request for a protective order against her estranged husband Charles Schmidtke, court records state.

Columbus police found both of them dead on Dec. 19 inside a residence on the 2200 block of Sumpter Court in an apparent murder-suicide. The Bartholomew County Coroner’s Office later said that Julie Schmidtke died from multiple gunshot wounds to her body, while Charles Schmidtke died from a single gunshot wound to the head.

A divorce filing by the 36-year-old mother of two just five days before her death states that she was pregnant.

The victim had requested a protective order against Charles Schmidtke on Oct. 21, alleging that he had physically harmed her, committed a sexual offense against her and committed repeated acts of harassment, court documents state.

She provided screenshots of numerous social media posts and messages by Charles Schmidtke as evidence to support her claims, according to court records.

Rohde denied the request for a protective order during a hearing Dec. 9 in Bartholomew Superior Court 2. According to court documents, both Charles Schmidtke and Julie Schmidtke attended the hearing in which Rohde made the ruling and each was represented by an attorney.

“(The) petitioner has not shown, by a preponderance of the evidence, that a sex offense and harassment has occurred sufficient to justify the issuance of an order for protection,” Rohde stated in the court order dated Dec. 9. “It is therefore ordered by the court that the petition for an order for protection is hereby denied.”

Rohde did not return phone calls Wednesday seeking comment about the denial or why the evidence presented by Julie Schmidtke was not sufficient.

Five days after her request for a protective order was denied, the victim filed for divorce in Bartholomew Superior Court 1 and requested that her legal name be changed to Julie Yow, according to a copy of the divorce filing. A hearing was scheduled for Jan. 5.

A marriage license for Julie A. Neumann and Charles W. Schmidtke was issued in April of this year in Bartholomew County, public records show.

Columbus Police Chief Mike Richardson said Wednesday that the investigation into the deaths is still ongoing.

Columbus police were sent to the victim’s residence for a welfare check on Aug. 18, police records state. Last week, Columbus police said no additional information on the welfare check was available.

Turning Point Domestic Violence Services issued a statement following the apparent murder-suicide, stating that the organization is “devastated by the recent loss of yet another life due to domestic violence.”

“The agency shares their deepest sympathies and condolences with the family and loved ones of this young mother,” Turning Point said in a statement. “It is incredibly important for the community to recognize that these homicides and all levels of domestic and interpersonal violence are occurring in our very own backyards.”

The Indiana Office of Judicial Administration says that protective orders “are a significant tool to help protect victims of domestic violence and their families.”