Sixty-five years after Edmund Schreiber survived some of the bloodiest fighting of World War I, the Purple Heart Medal recipient was found strangled with his own neckties.
Now, nearly 35 years after Schreiber was slain inside his Buffalo,N.Y., home, a then-teenage neighbor-turned-librarian is facing prison time after admitting to killing the 92-year-old combat veteran during a break-in.
Prosecutors, detectives and Schreiber’s family feel “fantastic” because a culprit is finally being brought to justice, Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said Thursday, a day after Saundra Adams pleaded guilty in a Buffalo courtroom to a reduced charge of manslaughter.
Flynn said Adams was 17 when she and an accomplice broke into Schreiber’s home on the night of June 23, 1983, looking for money. Adams and Schreiber lived on the same street, and she had done errands for him, the prosecutor said.
Schreiber’s hands were tied and he was strangled with several of his neckties, authorities said. Friends checking up on him found his body on his bed.
The case remained unsolved until Flynn’s predecessor revisited the case at the request of the Buffalo Police Department’s cold case squad. Last year, DNA found on some of the neckties and her fingerprints collected from a dresser in the bedroom linked Adams to the killing, authorities said.
Her plea came one day shy of the year anniversary of her arrest on a second-degree murder charge. Adams, now 51 and the mother of two, was enrolled in classes at Bryant and Stratton College’s Buffalo campus and was working in the school’s library at the time of her arrest.
The suspected accomplice in the killing has since died, Flynn said.
The prosecutor said Schreiber served in the Army’s 28th Infantry Division, nicknamed the Keystone Division because it was originally comprised of units from the Pennsylvania National Guard. During a battle in France in 1918 he was hit by machine gun bullets in both thighs, Flynn said. After the war, he received a Purple Heart for being wounded.
His two granddaughters, one from Kentucky and one from Ohio, plan to attend Adams’ sentencing on Nov. 6, Flynn said.
“They were very relieved,” Flynn said. “They really just wanted to know what happened” to their grandfather.
Adams faces a maximum of 25 years in state prison.