Jury In Schmidt Case Still Tied Up
Schmidt jury fails to reach a verdict; Now Out 26 Hours
Judge Foster Prolongs the Time Limit He Had Set With the Hope That a Unanimous Decision Would Be Found.
Jurors Have Quarrel When Called to Court
They Had Also Almost Come to Blows During Their Deliberations in Jury Room.
Judge Foster, presiding over the trial of Hans Schmidt for the murder of Anna Amueller, announced from his chambers at 2 o’clock this afternoon that if the jury had not agreed on a verdict by 3.45 o’clock this afternoon he would discharge them and declare a mistrial. At 4 o’clock, however, when the jury had been out twenty-six and a half hours, he did not send for the jury, having received information that there was still a chance of a verdict.
There were rumors about the building that nine jurors had favored a verdict which would send a Schmidt to the electric chair, one was set against any other verdict than “not guilty but insane,” and two were standing by the one, though ready to go over with him to the opinion all of the majority.
It was stated that sounds coming from the jury room during the all night vigil indicated that the argument had been tempestuous and at times were such as two cause the offices in the halls to believe that there were fisticuffs inside.
Judge Tries To Reason With Jurors.
At a little after noon there was an unprecedented scene when the jury entered to report that one of its members, Walter C. Wyman, had collapsed under the strain, and Judge Foster entered upon half an hour’s pleading with individual jurors to tell him their differences so that he might help them get together.
The scene began when the jury was called into the court room so that Dr. McGuire, the physician of the Tombs might examine into the physical condition of Juror Walter C. Wyman, who was reported by the foreman as too ill to go on with the session. Dr. McGuire found that Mr. Wyman, who is an elderly real estate broker, was suffering from exhaustion and the shock of excitement, but said that if a cot was taken into the jury room on which he could lie down while he was arguing it would be all right for him to continue. The cot was at once placed in the jury room. Meanwhile Judge Foster addressed the jury.
“I regret very much your inability to reach a verdict. What is the trouble, gentlemen? Are there any questions in your mind which I can help you clear? How is it with you, Mr. Foreman?”
Didn’t Want To Tell What The Trouble Was.
Lawrence Ottinger, the foreman, shook his head, as did each other juror when questioned in Turn. Judge Foster turned again to the foreman and asked what the trouble was.
“There is a point of difference, Your Honor,” said Mr. Ottinger, “as to the facts which we have discussed recently – in fact which we were discussing when you sent for us to come into court. I am not prepared to say now, positively, whether we can or cannot agree.”
“What is the question which is giving you trouble?” asked Judge Foster.
“Well,” the foreman replied hesitatingly, “I do not know the limitations as to what I may say. I do not like to offend against the law. My answer must be the statement that there is a difference of opinion as to the essential facts of the case as stated in your honor’s charge. It is a difference as to whether the facts as stated show the accused sane or insane.”
Judge Foster, with a sigh, repeated his first charge in its essentials, speaking with forced distinctness for roughly a quarter of an hour. He then asked if the doubts of the jury had been relieved by what he had said.
“Owing to the fact that Your Honor’s previous charges,” said Mr. Ottinger, “were equally lucid and as well understood, I fear that the very clear repetition has not relieved our difficulties. The question is as to facts.”
“As to which,” interrupted Judge Foster, “you are the sole judges.”
Mr. Ottinger said that from his talk and observation in the jury room the judge had covered every point regarding which the jurors were in doubt.
Eleven Jurors Glare at M’Auliffe, Who Returns Glare.
At this eleven of the jurors turned in their chairs and glared at William A. McAuliffe, juror No. 2, who returned their hard looks with interest.
“Mr. McAuliffe, said Judge Foster, taking the hint, “have you any questions? Is anything on your mind?”
“I have nothing to ask,” replied the juror firmly, “My mind is perfectly clear. I see no need for m-e” (with marked emphasis) “to ask questions.” Then he looked the rest of the jurors over coldly.
“Neither do I,” said Judge Foster.
George L. Dann, Juror No. 6, asked if it were not possible for Assistant District-Attorney Delehanty, Terence J. McManus of counsel for Schmidt, Mr. Ottinger and the Juge to have a conference in which the trouble could be explained.
“Let Mr. Ottinger tell us now,” said Judge Foster.
Mr. McManus protested that of course Judge Foster did not mean that the privacy of the jury room was to be violated.
“We want nothing of what has happened in the jury room,” said the Judge. “We want nothing of your individual opinions.”
Mr. Ottinger said his vitality was so low that he did not think he could do justice to himself and moreover he was not a lawyer and did not know his rights. But urged again, he said:
“At the outset of our deliberations a number of men took a position which they urged very strongly and from which they have not as yet receded. At first they were not seriously interested in the argument, but later they entered into the serious spirit of the others. I fear also that possibly through my own lack of diplomacy and that of the others there has developed a personal opposition for which there may have been some justification.”
Judge Foster then sent the jury back to the consultation room with an urgent request that they try to agree.
Jury In Schmidt Case Still Tied Up, The Evening World, 30 December 1913, page 1, column 7, and page 2, column 1