Schmidt Sought $5,000 Insurance On Victim’s Life
Five Months Before Murder, Witness Swears, Slayer Applied for Policy.
A sensation was sprung in the Court of Special Sessions today during the trial of Hans Schmidt, on trial for the murder of Anna Aumueller. This came just after the announcement that Schmidt wanted to take the stand in his own behalf and was to the effect that the woman’s slayer had tried to get insurance on her life.
Schmidt told Alphonse G. Koelble of his counsel today that he was eager to take the witness stand in his own defense provided his lawyers would let him tell, in his own way, his story of his love for the murdered girl, his reasons for making her, as he has said, “a holy sacrifice,” and his efforts to conceal the crime. The associate counsel Judge William M. K. Olcott and Terence J. McManus said that they were in doubt as to the advisability of putting Schmidt on the stand, he has refused to talk with them and has only at intervals consented to consult with Mr. Koelble about the murder case. Counsel said of Schmidt’s with to talk to the jury that they wanted to know just what was his intention before he was allowed to go on the stand.
Dr. Harold M. Hayes of No. 11 West Eighty-first street furnished the surprise of the case up to date when he said that Schmidt had tried to get insurance on Anna Aumueller’s life last year, five months before the murder. She gave her name as “Mrs. Anna Schmidt.” The application for insurance was rejected. The amount asked for was $5,000.
After Dr. Hays had concluded testifying Judge Olcott moved that his testimony be stricken out on the ground that the physician did not have the original certificate, to which Assistant District-Attorney Delehanty replied:
“I offer this testimony now because I propose to show later that Schmidt stole a number of certificates from the office of Dr. Leo, his physician, and at that time had it in his mind to commit the crime which he later accomplished, and that he intended to turn it to profit out of the insurance money.”
The testimony was allowed to stand.
Counsel for Schmidt showed today their intention of using the testimony of police and other witnesses to prove the insanity of Schmidt as the excuse for his crimes. Mr. Olcott and the other lawyers for Schmidt said that they felt that the confession of Schmidt regarding the slaughter of the girl proved him insane.
Inspector Faurot, whose testimony was suspended on Friday to allow Detective-Stenographer O’Connell to read his notes of the confession, was the first witness called today by Assistant District-Attorney Delehanty. The attorneys for the defense put special emphasis on the recorded confession where it bore on Schmidt’s actions immediately after the arrest.
In the notes made by Detective O’Connell it is shown that within a few minutes after the arrest of Schmidt and his confession he was questioned by his associate, Father Quinn of St. Joseph’s Church in 125th street. Father Quinn was told by the detectives that Schmidt admitted that he had killed the woman whose body, cut in pieces, was found in various places along the Hudson and Shrewsbury rivers.
“Tell me,” asked Father Quinn, questioning Schmidt, “are you a truly ordained priest of God?”
“Yes,” said Schmidt, “I was ordained. But not be a priest. I was ordained by St. Elizabeth at midnight.”
Mr. Olcott then stated a series of questions tending to show that Schmidt, when excited, made wild, inhorent statements. Judge Olcott enforced upon the jury the fact that apparently wild remarks about a consecration of St. Elizabeth was in answer to a question asked by a priest, and not by a policeman, before Schmidt could have had time to “frame up” a defense. Later, when calm, Inspector Faurot said, Schmidt was clear and calm and frank and told of being ordained by the Bishop of Mainz in the seminary where he had studied for the ministry.
Mr. Delehanty fought Mr. Olcott’s effort to show that Schmidt was crazy when excited and sane when calm. The Court admitted most of the questions of Mr. Olcott and the assenting answers of Inspector Faurot.
Detective Frank D. Cassassa followed Detective O’Connell. His first testimony merely covered that given by his chief, Faurot, and his colleague, O’Connell.
“What did Schmidt say,” asked Judge Olcott, “when you asked him what he had done with the mattress on which Anna lay when he killed her?”
“He said he had burned it in deepest hell,” answered Cassassa
Schmidt Sought $5,000 Insurance On Victim’s Life, The Evening World, 15 December 1913, page 1 column 2, and page 2, column 3.