Acting on information the source of which he refuses to divulge, Inspector Faurot is looking into the theory that Hans Schmidt, the murderer of Anna Aumueller, Jekyll-Hyde priest, fake doctor and admitted counterfeiter, is not the Hans Schmidt of Aschaffenburg, Germany, but an impostor. The Inspector has been informed that the real Schmidt probably is dead; that the man in the Tombs knew him and used such papers as Schmidt had in order to get into the Catholic priesthood for the purpose of cloaking, behind clerical activities, his criminal operations.
“There is no certainty that this fellow is the real Schmidt,” said the Inspector today. “My information that he is not comes from a source that warrants me in making an investigation. Schmidt is a natural forger and could easily have fixed up the clerical credentials through which he obtained positions in St. Boniface’s Church and St. Joseph’s Church.”
Koelble to Make The Defense One of Insanity.
Alphonse Koelble, counsel for Schmidt, is laying the groundwork for an insanity defense. He will ask the District Attorney to appoint a commission to examine the prisoner and report on his mental state. Koelble says he is certain that any commission will declare Schmidt insane and not a fit subject for trial.
Koelble is not sure that his client is the real Hans Schmidt. The prisoner, however, insists that he is the man who was ordained a priest in Mainz in 1907.
“I asked him today,” said Koelble, “if he wouldn’t tell me the truth about himself. I told him that many thousands of Catholics were deeply distressed about his standing, including those who had confessed to him and received the sacraments at his hands in St. Joseph’s Church and suggested that he might clear up the distress by confession if he was an impostor. He told me he was Hans Schmidt, the priest.”
Court Refused Muret a Demonstration.
“Dr.” Ernest Muret, Schmidt’s partner in the counterfeiting plant they conducted at No. 516 West One Hundred and Thirty-fourth street, was arraigned in the Court of Special Sessions before Justices McInerney, O’Keefe and Collins today on a charge of having a loaded revolver in his possession in violation of law. Muret made a startling proposition to the court.
“That weapon,” he said, referring to the revolver, which is of .22 calibre and can be hidden in the palm of the hand, “is harmless. I’d be willing to let anybody shoot at me with it and thus demonstrate that is is incapable of inflicting injury.”
“there will be no demonstration of that sort,” said Justice Collins. “The Court holds that it is a deadly weapon.”
Muret admitted owning the pistol. He said he bought it nine years ago in Germany. It is an ingenious little weapon. One armed with it could approach another without exciting suspicion. The pistol is so shaped that when it is held in the palm of the hand the muzzle protrudes between the first and second fingers, while the third finger is in the natural position to pull the trigger.
There were four loaded cartridges and two discharged cartridges in the revolver. Muret said he had tried at various times to discharge the weapon and had not succeeded but he could not account for the two empty chambers. He was remanded to the Tombs until Oct. 2 for sentence, but before that time he will have been turned over to the custody of the Federal authorities on the charge of counterfeiting.
Had 100 Copper Plates Made For His Use.
A. G. Hauver, a dealer in photographic materials at No. 126 West Thirtieth street reported that both Schmidt and Muret have visited his place several times during the summer, bought photography supplies and chemicals and also had him cut out copper plates of the size of United States money.
“Schmidt,” said Hauver, “came to me with two sheets of copper, each 36×12 inches, and asked me to cut them into smaller plates each 3×7 inches, with an allowance for a border of a quarter of an inch. Knowing that the size he wanted was the size on which paper money is printed, I asked him what he was going to do with the small plates. He said he was going to make signs out of them. I made him about one hundred plates in the desired size.”
Many of these plates were found in the West One Hundred and Thirty-fourth street flat. Some of them had been engraved by a photographic process. One of them was found in Schmidt’s trunk in the rectory of St. Joseph’s Church.
Policemen dragging from a launch at the foot at West One Hundred and Fifty-second street, where fishermen brought up human hair on their hooks yesterday, reported to Inspector Faurot that they were unable to find the head of Anna Aumueller, which is supposed to be submerged at that point. The Inspector thinks so well of the clue developed by the hair that he contemplates having the bottom of the river between One Hundred and Fifty-second and One Hundred and Fifty-third streets searched by a diver.
Roland Gates and Edward Dusch of No. 1812 Amsterdam avenue are the men who brought the hair to the surface. Gates says that his hook caught in some heavy object that slipped away as he was raising it to the surface. There was a quantity of hair on the hook when he recovered it, and he was about to throw it away when he thought of the murder and the fact that the hear of the victim has not been recovered. Then he took the hair to the West One Hundred and Fifty-second street station house.
Another habitation used by Schmidt in the course of his devious criminal operations has been found at No. 124 West Eighty-fourth street. Mrs. Mary Manzer, who has an eight-room flat on the ground floor there, rents furnished rooms. Schmidt, under the name of A. Van Dyke, rented a small room from her last January. He said he was a travelling salesman. He never slept in the room and visited it only three times in the two weeks for which he paid rent.
All Schmidt has in the room was a pair of shoes and a slouch hat. A package addressed to him was delivered there and several letters and postcards addressed to him reached the place after he had gone. These communications were returned to the Post-Office and Inspector Faurot is trying to trace them. Schmidt used the Eighty-fourth street house as a temporary resting place while working out one of his schemes. He never took Anna Aumueller there.
Schmidt’s Garrulity Changes to Moroseness.
Schmidt, who had been garrulous and given to writing notes to newspaper reporters for three days, became shy and morose today. He told one of the keepers that he had been talking too much and would say no more except when advised to talk by counsel.
Lat night detectives succeeded in opening a small safe in Muret’s office at No. 301 St. Nicholas avenue. Among the things they found were copies of two letters apparently written to establish an alibi for Muret. One was dated Sept. 3, and the other Sept. 14, both to prominent men, and the detectives regard them as an indication that Muret anticipated arrest as an accomplice of Schmidt.
There was also a letter from a woman to the priest saying she could not live without him, and signed “Helen.” Through the telephone number in the letter the police ascertained that it probably was written from Hillel Hall, No. 301 West One Hundred and Ninth street, Apartment 12, which also was mentioned in the letter, was said to have been occupied by a woman known as Helen Green, who went to Chicago, leaving instructions to forward her mail to the General Delivery. Inspector Faurot has asked the Chicago police to find out what they can about the woman.
Schmidt Wrote He Feared Temptation Here.
In the safe was a letter Schmidt had written to a priest in South Dakota, asking for a position there on the plea that “New York is full of temptations.”
The letters and papers found among Muret’s effects have sent the detectives investigating in many directions. It is not unlikely that others will be implicated in the criminal operations of the two men before long. Many letters to Muret were from married women.
Schmidt and Muret must have been known at various times under at least eight or ten names. Apparently they often went disguised. One of the discoveries in Muret’s rooms was a false beard and mustache. Among names Muret is believed to have used are Arthur Heibing, Dr . Arnold Heid, Dr. A. Ernst. Dr. Ernest. Dr. Ernest Muret. Dr. A. Muret and various combinations of the names.
Schmidt is believed to have been known at various times as A. Van Dyke. Dr. Emil Moliere, Johannes Schmidt, the Rev. John B. Schmidt, Jacob Schneider, Father Hans Schmidt and Adolph Somers.
Police Theories as to Renting of the Muret Flat.
Schmidt declared after being told of the discovery of his Eighth avenue flat that he rented it for the purpose of storing his things while he was in Europe on a visit. Inspector Faurot, however, regards it as only another proof of the prisoner’s shrewdness. Schmidt, he believes, thinking he had plenty of time, intended to transfer as much of the contents of the Bradhurst avenue flat as possible to the one in Eighth avenue as a “cover,” so if the police discovered the murder flat he would still be a lap ahead of them. His plans went awry at the discovery of the place where the pillow ticking was bought. After that he was afraid to go back to either flat and had to trust to luck that the telltale evidence would escape the police.
When detectives brought to Police Headquarters yesterday such of the contents of the Muret flat at No. 301 St. Nicholas avenue as might tend to throw light on the history of the occupant, they made important discoveries. Chief of these was the fact that Muret had fled from London to escape the grasp of Scotland Yard and that he had left a devoted wife behind. The correspondence found in his flat shed much light on his checkered career.
There was found a diploma from the American College of Mechano-Therapy of Chicago, issued to “Dr. Arnold Heid.”
In the Muret flat was also found a blue and white doctor’s sign bearing the name of Heid. There was also a card indicating that the prisoner had practiced medicine in London, the inscription on the card being:
“Dr. Ernest Muret, 1 to 3 P.M. by appointment. 1 Gloucester Chambers, No. 2 Gloucester street, W. C.”
There were many letters from his wife, the first one, in part, under date of May 11, 1911, being:
“My Own Darling Lulu:
“Now, my darling, I must tell you all the trouble we were in when you left that Saturday. About 2 in the afternoon a detective came and mamma gave him your message that you had gone to France. He said you had not left London and told me to tell you that you would only be fined £5. He went away then, but came right back with three more detectives. Between the four of them they searched the place up and down, and, oh, ducky, your certificate and all your medals they have taken with them. I know you will be so sorry. The case was in several of the papers.”
Inspector Faurot, so rapidly did matters for investigation of the case arise, had not the time yesterday to complete an inspection of the Muret correspondence. Cablegrams were sent by him to Scotland Yard and the police authorities of cities in which the prisoner, as indicated by the correspondence, had lived. Replies are expected today.
Newspaper Pictures Led to Priest’s Undoing.
The discovery of the Eighth avenue flat was due to newspaper pictures of Schmidt, who had been there only once after renting it. He left two suit cases. There were a dark leather suit case and a wicker hand bag. The former contained a pair of trousers and a vest, which from the number and material. were the rest of the suit the coat of which had been found in the murder flat. Also were found a considerable quantity of embroidering material, a pair of white silk gloves such as are worn by women in summer the guimp of a woman’s dress; a handy-bag contained numerous small articles, among which was a skein of silk floss of the same kind as was used to embroider the letter “A” on the pillow slip which was used to wrap a part of the body of Anna Aumueller; a tape of letter “A’s” of the kind used for marking clothes; a heliotrope dress, and material that had been cut for sewing into garments for an infant.
From the latter it was clear to the detective that Anna Aumueller had already begun work on the clothing of the child she expected to bring into the world.
Besides the articles enumerated above there were found in the flat a photograph of Anna Aumueller and one of Schmidt, taken abroad and showing him wearing a beard.
When detectives last night opened the safe which Muret kept in his dental office in the strong box they found a priest’s viaticum, or anointing cup, a book on the confession and one on the mass. There were also 1,000 stamped envelopes with Muret’s name on them.
The New Jersey inquest in the Anna Aumueller case will be held tonight.
Believe That Priest Stole Papers to Put Him in Holy Orders, The Evening World, 18 September 1913, page 1, column 1 and page 2, column 6.