WICHITA, Kansas – A suspect charged in the deaths of a friend’s adoptive parents has testified they were killed because their adopted son thought he would get an inheritance.
Branden Michael Smith waived his own preliminary hearing and took the witness stand Thursday as part of a deal with prosecutors for his testimony against his three co-defendants.
Forty-eight-year-old Roger Bluml and 53-year-old Melissa Bluml were both shot in the head Nov. 15 at their home near Valley Center. Melissa Bluml died the next day, and her husband died Dec. 21.
Charged are the couple’s adopted teenage son, Anthony Bluml and his biological mother, Kisha Schaberg, of San Diego. Also charged is another of Anthony’s former classmates, Andrew Wallace Ellington.
Branden Smith took the stand releasing new details on the murders of Roger and Melissa Bluml in November.
He said the plan came together while he and Anthony Bluml were driving back to Kansas from California with Anthony Bluml’s biological mother Kisha Schaberg.
Smith testified he provided the gun that Schaberg used to kill the Blumls.
The motive was allegedly to get money from Anthony Bluml’s adoptive parents and kill them and get the inheritance.
While Smith testified he told them he would not take part directly in the plan, he did admit to getting the guns used in the murder and arranged for Andrew Ellington to take part.
“I said Drew is just like me, he won’t run his mouth or anything,” said Smith.
Smith says Schaberg and Ellington went to the house after Anthony Bluml arranged for his mother and father to be away.
Smith testified when Roger and Melissa drove up to the house, Schaberg walked up to the truck holding a gun and shot Melissa.
Smith then testified that she went to the other side of the car and then, after multiple tries, shot Roger in the head.
After the shooting, Smith says Anthony Bluml learned he wasn’t in the will.
Chris Bluml, the other adopted son, was in the courtroom.
He stared at the ground as he listened to Smith tell the judge how his brother and biological mother allegedly planned and committed his adopted parent’s murder.
The other three defendants waived the right to a preliminary hearing and all are still being held on $2 million bond.
At this point, a date has not been set for the arraignment or trial.
The District Attorney’s Office said that Smith will be convicted of second-degree intentional murder as part of the plea agreement.