It took jurors in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania less than an hour to convict Kimberly Marie Maurer, 37, for her role in the death and torture of 12-year-old Max Schollenberger, the son of Maurer’s then-fiance Scott Schollenberger.
Maurer was found guilty on multiple felonies including “criminal homicide, endangering the welfare of children, involuntary manslaughter and criminal conspiracy to endanger the welfare of children,” the Lebanon Daily News reported.
The outlet added that Maurer and Schollenberger were charged in September 2020 over their decade-long abuse of young Max. After the verdict was delivered, Lebanon County District Attorney Pier Hess Graf told reporters that the trial showed “what pure evil personified looks like.”
“It shows how a child could be tortured, starved and punished in every way for existing,” she said. “And those twelve people stood up, looked (Maurer) in the face today and did right by that child.”
Graf also reportedly said that Mauer was “one of the most manipulative defendants I’ve ever seen, in that every person she interacts with has to serve a purpose or that person has to get attacked.”
Law & Crime reported that Annville Township Police and members of the Lebanon County Detective Bureau found Max’s emaciated body on May 26, 2020, in a second-floor bedroom that was devoid of furniture except a single bed. Prosecutors explained to the court that Max was naked, and that he and the bed were both “wholly covered in fecal matter.”
“Claw marks appeared in the child victim’s sheets; said marks made indentations on the stained feces,” prosecutors said during the trial. “Police removed the bedding and located piles of moldy fecal matter under the frame itself.”
The described Max’s room as being pitch black with the window shades taped shut. The doors were also screwed shut and had three metal hooks on the outside to keep it locked. Police said Schollenberger and Maurer admitted to using the hooks to keep Max locked inside. Max was never enrolled in school and allegedly hadn’t been to the doctor in more than a decade.
“An autopsy conducted by a medical examiner concluded that Max had been severely undernourished. Weighing just 47.5 pounds and standing at only 50 inches, the child was also significantly undersized for his age. Ultimately the child’s cause of death was determined to be a homicide caused by blunt force trauma, with starvation and malnourishment serving as complicating factors,” Law & Crime reported.
Schollenberger pleaded guilty to criminal homicide two months ago and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Schollenberger told authorities that he had worked 60-80 hours a week prior to the pandemic and trusted Maurer to care for Max, but that Maurer singled him out for abuse. The couple had three children together living in the same home, and Maurer had two children from a previous relationship who would sometimes visit.
Maurer, predictably, claimed that she was also a victim and that Schollenberger had manipulated her.
“He took the license plate off her car and monitored her location by GPS. He took her phone. When someone has small children in that situation, it’s hard to leave, research shows,” Maurer’s attorney, Andrew Race, told PennLive. “The suggestion she would do this to Maxwell is difficult to understand.”