Schmidt Hearing Nearly Brings On Lovers’ Quarrel
Young Woman Listening to Vile Life of Accused Meets Indignant Fiance.
Is Given Last Choice.
Alienist Jelliffe Declares Prisoner Is Victim of Paraphrenic Dementia.
A young man walked into Judge Foster’s court-room with a subpoena calling for his attendance before the Grand Jury today. This was the Court of General Sessions, where particularly salacious details of the Hans Schmidt murder trial have been brought out in evidence.
He was admitted as a matter of course. He saw a girl in a white coat sitting in the witness seats just a few feet away from Schmidt, dividing her glances between his unkempt face and the witness.
The young man went out to Capt. Thomas Flanagan, the court officer at the door.
“How long has she been here?” he demanded, dragging Flanagan to the crack of the door and pointing her out.
“Ever since the first day,” said the officer.
The youth went into the courtroom, tapped the girl on the shoulder an beckoned her outside. In the vestibule he started a tongue-lashing under which the young woman almost curled up.
Must Choose Between Attending Trial And Fiance.
“If you think I want to marry a woman who will listen to that sort of stuff,” he said, “you do not know me. Get out of here and go home or it’s all over between you and me. I’m through. Go in or out! Take your choice.”
The girl started to say: “But, dear”-
“There is no ‘but,’ Helen,” he said.
The girl, noticing the crowd which was gathering, ran down the stairway and out of the building. The man followed her slowly. The name of neither was known to the attendants.
A few moments later a young woman – one of the seven still remaining in the courtroom – collapsed in her chair and was helped out of the room. She was attended by County Physician King of Hoboken. An attendant at the trial as a witness, and refusing to give her name and address, was taken home by another woman, reducing the number of women present to five.
A queer genealogical chart showing Schmidt’s descent from persons of tainted minds was offered in evidence.
The chart covered the history of sixty relatives of Schmidt, of whom a large proportion had been adjudged insane or had committed suicide. The chart, four feet by six, was not at once admitted in evidence. Assistant District-Attorney Delehanty said that the insanity experts for the State had not yet verified it. The map was a queer-looking diagram in which red and black spots, connected by zig-zag lines, involved Schmidt’s mentality in a mass of diseased minds.
Mr. Delehanty indicated that he would admit the chart later if it could be verified to his satisfaction. The jurors nonetheless got a good look at the chart during the arguments of the lawyers regarding it.
Schmidt Lawyer Away After More Witnesses, It Is Said.
Alphonse G. Koelble of counsel for the prisoner was not in court at today’s opening. It was understood that he was in Trenton trying to persuade certain reluctant witnesses who observed Schmidt while he was employed in a church there in the unauthorized guise of a priest. Mr. Koelble, leaving W. M.M. Olcott and Terence J. McManus to conduct the actual trial, has spent much time in Trenton for several days. Persons whose testimony he desires have persistently refused to come to this city to go on the witness stand because they do not want to “be mixed up with such an unseemly case” and have such a record to be established about them for the rest of their lives.
Dr. Smith Ely Jelliffe, the first of the alienists for the defense, was still on the stand when the court opened today. Under cross-examination an open quarrel developed between the witness and Mr. Delehanty.
“Are you not using sophistry?” asked Mr. Delehanty.
“Only as lawyers use it,” said the physician.
“But are you?”
“It is necessary with a lawyer as skilful as yourself,” said Dr. Jelliffe, smiling.
“But you are speaking to others,” said the Assistant District-Attorney.
“I will talk plainly if you will permit me,” said Dt. Jelliffe.
“But are you using sophistry?” insisted Mr. Delehanty.
“That is for you to say, sir,” replied Dt. Jelliffe, sweetly. “You ought to know.”
Jelliffe Says Schmidt Is Type of Paranoiac.
Dr. Jelliffe said that he considered Schmidt a victim of “a paranoiac or paraphrenic type of dementia praecox.” He did not regard Schmidt , he said, as an idiot or an imbecile.
“Does the accused know he is now sitting on a chair?” asked Mr. Delehanty of Dr. Jelliffe, speaking sarcastically.
“In my opinion,” said the expert, “he does. But I don’t know what he knows about it. He may think he is on a chair or he may think he is on a throne. He is a sick man, and has been for years.”
“Do you think,” shouted Mr. Delehanty, “that Court Officer Carroll, sitting behind him, knows that Schmidt is sitting on a chair?”
“Mr. Carroll,” said former Judge Olcott, “objects to the question, in that it is irrelevant and immaterial.”
“Objection sustained,” said Judge Foster.
“You are testifying for pay?” asked Mr. Delehanty.
“I would be glad to make a statement,” said the expert.
“You expect to be paid?” insisted Mr. Delehanty.
“I expect to render a bill,” said Dr. Jelliffe.
There was a laugh.
“You were paid as an expert in the Thaw case, were you not?”
“Some,” said the physician.
The court had to call for order.
Dr. William A. White of St. Elizabeth’s Asylum of the United States Government, near Washington, was the second alienist called. Dr. White’s narratives of Schmidt’s self revelations differed only in variety and not in quality from those which have been related before. Dr. White’s examination by Mr. Olcott was very brief. He said that Schmidt was crazy from youth.
Dr. Henry A. Cotton of the New Jersey State Hospital at Trenton, was qualified and swore that he thought Schmidt was sane, after reading noted of a confession by Schmidt to him.
Schmidt Hearing Nearly Brings On Lovers’ Quarrel, The Evening World, 23 December 1913, page 2, column 5.