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Son deep freezes mother!

A man convicted of keeping his dead mother in a freezer for years was indicted on a federal charge accusing him of illegally collecting thousands of dollars.

india Updated: Feb 16, 2006 16:42 IST

A man convicted of keeping his dead mother in a freezer for years was indicted on a federal charge accusing him of illegally collecting thousands of dollars of her government pension benefits after she died.

A federal grand jury on Wednesday also indicted Philip Schuth on charges of possessing a sawed-off shotgun and homemade cluster bombs, Assistant US Attorney Dan Graber said.

The indictment alleges Schuth defrauded the Social Security Administration of $35,690 (euro29,981) meant for his mother and built 19 bombs by packing glass and plastic aspirin bottles with gunpowder, nails and staples that would act as flying shrapnel upon detonation.

Schuth, 53, faces up to 25 years in federal prison if convicted on the three counts.

He already is serving a seven-year sentence in state prison as the result of a standoff with police in April at his home on French Island, just outside La Crosse. It was during the standoff that officers found the frozen body.

Investigators said the conflict began when Schuth shot at a neighbor who came to his door. The body of his mother, Edith, was later found by authorities, encased in an ice block in a basement chest freezer. They also discovered a cache of 16 guns, including the sawed-off shotgun, and the explosives, which Schuth referred to as "anti-personnel devices," Graber said.

Schuth told investigators his mother died of natural causes in 2000, but he concealed her body because he had never held a real job and wanted to go on collecting her Social Security benefits, according to court documents. The benefits were deposited into a joint checking account in Schuth and his mother's names. "Once his mother passed away, the entitlement to benefits stopped," Graber said.

In state court, Schuth pleaded no contest to attempted homicide, recklessly endangering safety and hiding a corpse. Schuth will be brought from the Green Bay Correctional Institution for arraignment in federal court in Madison, Graber said. The date has not been scheduled.

First Published: Feb 16, 2006 16:42 IST