Murders A-Z is a collection of true crime stories that take an in-depth look at both little-known and infamous murders throughout history.
When Anthony Bluml reconnected with his birth mother, Kisha Schaberg, on Facebook in 2013, he was thrilled. The 18-year-old had recently been kicked out by his adoptive parents, Roger and Melissa Bluml, who had adopted Anthony and his younger brother, Chris, when they were toddlers. While Schaberg was overjoyed to reunite with her son, she soon became entangled in a deadly plot fueled by Anthony’s revenge.
Roger and Melissa Bluml were well liked in their hometown of Valley Center, Kanas, a largely rural suburb north of Wichita. Melissa was vice president of Chisholm Trail State Bank, and both she and Roger were active in their community. Melissa once made 50 pounds of potato salad for a town barbecue, and the couple never missed a local sporting event, according to the Kansas City Star. Anthony and Chis Bluml both excelled at wrestling and football, joining their local high school teams.
Meanwhile, Kisha Schaberg had a daughter with a man named Robert Swank, according to The Wichita Eagle. After she and Swank broke up, Schaberg and her daughter moved to San Diego, California, to live with a woman named Shawn Hamilton, whom she had known for more than 25 years. Hamilton told The Eagle that she had a romantic relationship with Schaberg, and helped take care of Anthony and Chris before Schaberg put them up for adoption. At the time, she said, Anthony was around 6 or 7 years old, and Chris was 4 or 5.
“She felt really, really bad, and it tore her apart,” Hamilton told the newspaper, adding that she was, however, “happy with the fact the Blumls came forward and wanted to take care them.”
Back in Kansas, Anthony Bluml, who now went by the name Tony, had become a star player on the Valley Center High School wrestling team, finishing second in his division during a tournament. He planned to join the Air Force, but his life began to unravel after he was caught smoking marijuana during his senior year. He fought with his parents, who kicked him out of the house. He supported himself — working at fast food restaurants, drifting between different friends’ houses and selling marijuana, according to the Ark Valley News. Tony was arrested for assault in June 2013, and a month later, he was booked for driving under the influence.
That summer, Tony began corresponding with his birth mother on Facebook, and he soon made plans to visit her in San Diego. He brought along his friend Braden Smith, with whom he sold marijuana, according to Smith’s later testimony. They stayed at Schaberg and Hamilton’s one-bedroom apartment for close to a month, creating tension between the couple. Hamilton told The Wichita Eagle that the reunited mother and son and Smith spent their days in a drug-induced haze.
“She started getting high with them all day and every day,” Hamilton claimed.
Tony often complained to Schaberg about the Blumls and said he resented them for for kicking him out of the house. He also said they gave his younger brother “anything he wanted,” while Tony had to work two jobs to pay his way, also according to The Wichita Eagle.
“I know that Tony did not like living with his adopted parents,” Robert Swank’s daughter, Victoria Egerer, told The Wichita Eagle. “[Tony] told Kisha they were too strict. They didn’t let him do whatever he wanted, and I guess that irritated him.”
While Tony had renewed his relationship with his mother, his younger brother was more reticent. According to Egerer, this upset Schaberg deeply, and she blamed the Blumls, who she believed had turned Chris against her. Smith said that Schaberg’s anger grew and he testified about Schaberg’s homicidal impulses.
"We were talking one time, and Kisha told us that she had drove up to the street where they live and wanted to shoot them then but she got scared," Smith testified, according to the Ark Valley News.
In San Diego, Hamilton grew tired of the endless pot smoking and her role as the sole breadwinner in the small, cramped apartment. When Tony and Smith tried to sell marijuana near their home, she issued an ultimatum.
“This is dangerous,” she told them, according to The Wichita Eagle. “I cannot have this in my home. You have to take this elsewhere.”
Tony, Smith, Schaberg and her 7-year-old daughter then moved into a hotel for about two weeks before deciding to return together to Kansas. After driving for a day, the group spent the night at a motel in Arizona. There, Tony first raised the possibility of killing Melissa and Roger Bluml, according to Smith.
“If we kill my parents, we can get will money,” Smith later testified, according to The Wichita Eagle.
Smith said that Tony laid out the plan and even picked a date — November 15, 2013 — knowing that Chris would be away at a wrestling meet. Tony would go out to dinner with the Blumls, getting them out of the house, so Smith and Schaberg could burglarize it. After returning home, the couple would be murdered. Tony assumed that upon their death, he would be a beneficiary in their will and receive a substantial inheritance.
Smith was asked to drive Schaberg to the Bluml home, but he declined, instead recommending his friend Andrew Ellington, and once back in Wichita, Smith helped Tony and Schaberg get the handguns they would use to kill them, according to the Ark Valley News. A day before the murders, Tony tweeted the Lil Wayne lyrics, “I got ice in my veins, blood in my eyes, hate in my heart,” according to The Kansas Star. Smith later retweeted the message on his own Twitter account.
On the evening of the murder, Tony Bluml went out to eat with his adoptive parents, while Schaberg and Ellington broke into their home to steal valuables and “a stash of cash,” according to The Wichita Eagle. They then hid on the side of the house, waiting for the Blumls’ return. When their car pulled up, Schaberg and Ellington emerged.
Smith testified Schaberg told him Melissa Bluml said, “Oh, my gosh, Kisha,” Schaberg shot her in the head. Tony’s biological mother then tried to shoot Roger Bluml, but her gun jammed. She pulled the trigger several times before fatally shooting him in the head.
Chris Bluml returned home after his wrestling meet just after 9 p.m. and discovered their bodies, according to The Wichita Eagle. The Blumls were barely clinging to life. Melissa died the following day at 53. That night, Tony hung on for just over a month before succumbing to his injuries on December 21. He was 48.
The day after the shooting, Tony visited his adoptive parents at the hospital, where a family member told him that he probably was not in their will, according to Ark Valley News. Police also contacted Smith to interview him about the homicides, and he ultimately admitted his involvement.
Police arrested the Schaberg, 35 at the time, along with Anthony Bluml, Smith and Ellington, all age 18. According to The Wichita Eagle, they were charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, two counts of aggravated robbery, burglary and theft. Following Roger Bluml’s death, they were charged with capital murder, making them eligible for the death penalty, according to WIBW in Topeka, Kansas.
Schaberg and Tony Bluml pleaded no contest to charges of capital murder and two counts of aggravated robbery on May 15, 2015, according to The Wichita Eagle. In doing so, they relinquished their right to appeal, and in exchange, prosecutors agreed to not seek the death penalty against them, and to drop charges of first-degree murder, burglary and misdemeanor theft. A month later, they were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, according to Wichita NBC affiliate KSN.
A week after Schaberg and Bluml’s sentencing, Andrew Ellington pleaded no contest and was found guilty of both first-degree and second-degree murder, according to The Wichita Eagle. He was subsequently sentenced to life in prison, plus 155 months, according to another Wichita Eagle. In October 2015, Chris Smith was sentenced to 24 and a half years in prison after pleading guilty to two counts of second-degree intentional murder, according to The Wichita Eagle.
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