Steve Schneider was David Koresh’s second in command during their days at Mount Carmel. Here’s what you need to know about Steve before the ‘Waco’ miniseries.
1. Steve Schneider will be played by Paul Sparks in the miniseries. Paul stars alongside Taylor Kitsch as David Koresh, Melissa Benoist as Rachel Koresh, Andrea Riseborough as Judy Schneider, John Leguizamo as Jacob Vasquez, Rory Culkin as David Thibodeau, and Michael Shannon as Gary Noesner. The 6-part miniseries premieres Jan. 24 at 10 p.m ET on Paramount Network. The miniseries will reveal the untold story exploring the real life details leading up to and chronicling the 1993 standoff between the FBI, ATF, and Koresh’s spiritual sect, The Branch Davidians.
2. 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.
3. His wife had a child with Koresh. The men who were followers of Koresh were not allowed to have sex, even the married men. 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!”
4. He attempted to negotiate with the FBI and ATF during the Waco siege. 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. Koresh had planned to surrender after writing down his interpretations of the Seven Seals, which was Steve editing, but the final siege happened before Koresh could finish.
5. He was killed during the final attack on Waco. Steve and 75 others 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.
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