Doctors Declare Priest Who Killed Girl Whom He Married, Not Insane
A Cornered Rat Feigning Insanity, Says Dr. Erlwein of Schmidt.
Whitman Makes Move
MacDonald and Mahon, Alienists, to Examine Prisoner as to His Sanity
The Federal Grand Jury handed down indictments this afternoon charging counterfeiting and conspiracy against Hans Schmidt, the slayer of Anna Aumueller, and his chum, “Dr.” Ernest Muret. Accompanying the indictments was a complimentary reference to the completeness of the case against the accused as it was submitted to the Federal authorities by Inspector Faurot, the head of the Detective Bureau.
It is not contemplated that Schmidt will be prosecuted on the counterfeiting charge, as the police have a strong case of murder against him. But there has been nothing gathered thus far by the detectives to associate Muret directly with the murder of Anna Aumueller and the counterfeiting indictment will be depended upon to cover his case.
There are four counts in each of the Federal indictments. Three of them charge counterfeiting offenses in that the accused had counterfeiting plates in their possession, counterfeited obligations of the United States with intent to defraud, and made likenesses of obligations of the United States. The conspiracy charge covers the preparations for the commission of the above offenses.
The penalty on conviction of each of the three counterfeiting counts is fifteen years in prison and a fine of $5,000. The penalty on conviction of the charge of conspiracy is two years in prison and a fine of $10,000. It is expected that Muret will soon be turned over to the custody of the United States Secret Service agents to be placed on trial on the indictments against him.
Whitman Picking Alienists to Examine Priest
District-Attorney Whitman __ designated Dr. Charles F. MacDonald, the eminent alienist, and Dr. William Mason, superintendent of the Manhattan State Hospital for the Insane as two of a committee of four experts in mental diseases to examine Hans Schmidt and report on his sanity. Dr. MacDonald and Dr. mason said they would be ready to proceed with their work tomorrow morning.
In order to allow the experts time to talk with and observe Schmidt the inquest will not be held until the latter part of next week. The District-Attorney does not desire to put Schmidt on trial if he is insane. Under special permits from Warden Fallon three physicians visited Schmidt in the Tombs today. One of them is an alienist, another has made a study of phrenology. All three agree that Schmidt is not insane. The physicians are Dr. Michael Erlwein of No. 12 Convent avenue, a member of St. Joseph’s Church, of which Schmidt was an assistant pastor and a former friend of the accused murderer: Dr. John Herman Branth of No. 183 West Eighty-seventh street and Dr. Charles W. F. Horn of No. 220 West One Hundred and Twenty-seventh street. Schmidt told Warden Fallon he was willing to see them. They conversed with him in German.
A Matter Between Himself and God, He Said.
“Having known Schmidt in his priestly state, said Dr. Erlwein to an Evening World reporter, “and having heard so much about his mental condition, I wanted to see him in what you might call his criminal state. I know him very well. He sent charity patients to me when he was at St. Joseph’s.
“I told him he was in a bad fix. He said he knew it. I asked him if he was sorry he had killed the girl. He said that was a matter between himself and God; he wanted to die as quickly as possibly, he said.
“I talked to him at some length. As far as I can see there is no difference between the Schmidt in the Tombs accused of murder and the Father Schmidt I knew. I think he is feigning insanity. He looks to me like a cornered rat figuring out a plan for escape.”
“Schmidt’s mind works perfectly,” declared Dr. Branth. “I noted a statement he made to Dr. Erlwein. He repeated the same statement five minutes later word for word. In my opinion he is perfectly sane, but cleverly is trying to create the opposite impression.”
“My interest in Schmidt,” said Dr. Horn, “related to my studies of phrenology and facial expression. It is not true that Schmidt has a criminal head and face.
It is true that his face is asymmetrical, but there are very few perfectly symmetrical faces. Some of our greatest men have had faces that were pronouncedly asymmetrical.
“An examination of Schmidt’s head shows that he possesses to a marked degree the qualities of secretiveness, cautiousness and combativeness. His bump of construction is large and explains his ability to make those counterfeiting plates in such a short time. Schmidt is not insane, but he is wonderfully cunning.”
Is Priest He Claimed to b, Says Boyhood Friend.
All doubt as to Schmidt’s identity has been cleared up by the Rev. Father Francis Markert, teacher in the College of Techny, Techny, Ill., a boyhood friend of Father Schmidt in Germany. The theory had been advanced, and believed by some, that Schmidt was dead and his papers had been seized by Anna Aumueller’s murderer, an impostor.
Father Markert dispelled all doubt. He is on his way to Germany and stopped at the Tombs, being promptly recognized by Schmidt, who called him by name. When asked if there was any message he wanted taken to his parents, Schmidt said:
“Nothing special, just give my love to my mother.”
“I have known Father Schmidt since 1893,” said Father Markert. “We entered the College of Mainz together. He was a brilliant student and very pious up to the time he was about twenty years old. Then he began to show a worldly disposition.
“The last time I saw him he was at Gonzenheim, Germany, and was assistant priest of that parish. A few weeks later he left the parish and I heard he had forged documents in connection with his degree of doctor of philosophy. I wrote to his brother, who replied that Schmidt was in a sanitarium.”
At the chancellery of the archdiocese, Fiftieth street and Madison avenue, it was said that Mgr. Mooney, after consultation with church authorities, had decided not to issue a formal statement in the case of Father Schmidt for the reason that in no previous instance had a priest, by means of forged papers, obtained recognition in this archdiocese.
Used Muret’s Rooms to Change His Clothes.
“Dr.” Ernest Muret, the bogus dentist and friend of Schmidt, issued a statement in his own defense today. He said the police are trying to work up public sentiment against him simply because he was friendly with Schmidt. He first met Schmidt , he said, in December, 1912, when the priest called on him to get some dental work done. They became friendly, Schmidt used his home at No. 301 St. Nicholas avenue, Muret said, as a place where he would change from clerical to lay garb when he wanted to go to the theatre.
Muret declared that Schmidt never mentioned the name of Anna Aumueller to him, nor did he ever mention the name of any other woman. He denied that he is any relation of Schmidt.
As for the photograph gallery at No. 516 West One Hundred and Thirty-fourth street, rented by Muret and Schmidt, where counterfeiting plates and piles of counterfeited bills were found, Muret says he took the place, at Schmidt’s suggestion, for use as a studio for turning out picture postcards and advertisements. if the place was ever used for any other purpose, he declared, he knew nothing about it. He did not enter the One Hundred and Thirty-fourth street flat after the middle of August, when he quarreled with Schmidt.
Doctors Declare Priest Who Killed Girl Whom He Married, Not Insane, The Evening World, 23 September 1913, page 1, column 1 and page 2, column 4