Name: Steven Emil Schneider
Date of birth: Oct 16, 1949
Date of death: April 19, 1993
Place of birth: Merrill, Wisconsin
Place of death: Mount Carmel Center, Waco, Texas
Cause of death: Gunshot to the head
Steve was introduced to David Koresh’s teachings in 1986. Steve was living in Hawaii at the time, getting his Ph.D. a the University of Hawaii. Steve tried to “detect flaws and inconsistencies in his scriptural system” and even had Koresh debate Scripture with a professor, according to David Thibodeau’s book Waco: A Survivor’s Story. Steve soon became one of Koresh’s most faithful followers and his right-hand man. In addition to negotiating all deals with outsiders, Steve managed Koresh’s band.
Steve was married to Judy Schneider, and she became one of David’s “wives.” Judy became pregnant by David and had his daughter, Mayanah. Although he went along with it, Steve had his issues about the situation. According to David Thibodeau, Steve told him: “You don’t even know how hard it’s been. I love her, and giving her up… We were lovers for close on twenty years, married for ten, and never made a baby…. Now suddenly, she’s having his child!” Schneider told another former cult member that he gave up Judy because of “what they were going to accomplish in the kingdom.”
After the initial raid on Feb. 28, 1993, Steve tried reasoning with the negotiators. Steve helped negotiate medical supplies, milk for the children at Mount Carmel, and possible surrender. He tried to work out a deal to let a group of people exit if the ATF agents who shot at Mount Carmel followers were charged with criminal offenses, but that didn’t work out.
Steve died on April 19, 1993. Only 9 survived the final assault, which ended in the complete destruction of Mount Carmel due to a fire. Despite the fire, Steve didn’t die of smoke inhalation. An autopsy confirmed that Steve died from a gunshot wound to the head.