May Bar Women At Schmidt Trial For Decency Sake
Story of Atrocities Committed By Aumueller Slayer Sickens Judge Foster.
The trial of Hans Schmidt, who when deceiving the diocesan authorities of his church in this city as to his authority as a priest murdered Anna Aumueller early in September, reached a stage today which horrified everybody from Judge Warren W. Foster of General Sessions to the doortenders. Women spectators of the trial who have listened with frozen smiles to the previous testimony left the room today with gasps of horror when Dr. Lichtenstein, a Tombs physician, began telling of Schmidt’s revelations to him of his depravity.
Judge Foster, whose attitude toward the case from the beginning has been that it was of a sort which should be hurried through with every possible reservation of the rights of the man on trial, but without the least possible exploitation of the crime involved, went to his chambers after today’s session and refused himself to all callers.
He said on his way to his chambers that the trial was unutterably horrible to him and that he could not understand the motives of those who became spectators and auditors of it voluntarily, especially those of the women. It is not unlikely that when the trial is resumed on Monday all women will be excluded from the court-room.
Assistant District-Attorney Delehanty insists on continuing the trial, because he believes that it is his duty to prove that Schmidt is a consummate scoundrel who is responsible for everything he has done.
The lawyers for the defense, Messrs. Olcott, McManus and Koelble, make no secret of their willingness to end the mess by admitting that their client is guilty of murder but insane to a horrible degree.
Still Waiting Heavenly Direction To Testify.
Schmidt told Alphonse G. Koelble of his counsel today that he would rise and testify in open court if he were “directed from heaven to do so.” Otherwise, he said, no advice or direction of his lawyers would be sufficient to make him take the stand.
The Rev. Father George Henry Huntman was the first witness for the defense today. Father Huntman is the rector of St. Joseph’s Church in Harlem, where Schmidt was arrested for murder. He swore that Schmidt was frequently the subject of reprimand for disregarding the established ceremonial. Schmidt sometimes embezzled the collections at the offertories, at baptismal and wedding ceremonies. Father Huntman said, though under a rule of the church, there should have been turned into the treasury of the church.
Lewis Hahn, an organist, described by other witnesses as the closest friend of Hans Schmidt at St. Boniface’s, was called. Hahn was employed by Father Braun at St. Boniface’s on the recommendation of Schmidt. He make parochial calls with Schmidt.
“He told me,” said the witness, “that when he became an authority of the Church that he would change the language of the service from Latin to German.”
Before and after evening prayers in the church Schmidt ordered Hahn to play march and waltz music and Hahn, though objecting, obeyed his orders.
Almsgiving was a mania with Schmidt, said Hahn, and he emptied his pockets every time he was approached by beggar.
Told About Counterfeiting Preparations At Library.
Assistant-District Attorney Delehanty, on cross-examination, got Hahn the admission that he and Schmidt had gone to the New York Public Library and had studied a book regarding the manufacture of bank note paper. Ernest Muret, a friend of Schmidt, has been convicted of counterfeiting and sent to the Federal prison in Atlanta.
Dr. Perry L. Lichtenstein, a Tombs physician, gave an account of Schmidt’s medical history when committed to the prison after his arrest. It was only with the greatest of difficulty, the physician stated, that he got from Schmidt the admission that many members of his family had been insane and had committed suicide.
“The higher view one takes of life,” Dr. Lichtenstein quoted Schmidt as saying, “the less one thins of death. We are coming to a higher development of man.”
“He told me,” said Dr. Lichtenstein, “that he bought a ring and married himself to Anna Aumueller because he had the right to do so. For several months after that he heard the voice of God telling him that Anna must be a sacrifice of love or devotion.”
Schmidt insisted that he told Anna repeatedly that she was to be sacrificed. She said to him, “You are getting crazy!”
“The night before Labor Day,” the physician said, “he knelt, he told me, and asked for advice and was told ‘from above’ to go ahead with the sacrifice. He had learned that no sacrifice could be real unless the sacrificial officer tasted blood. The sacrifice of Isaac by Abraham was a secret ceremony, and it was for that reason he kept the killing of Anna Aumueller secret as long as he could.
The testimony at this point became unprintable.
The case was adjourned until Monday morning at 10.30 o’clock, when it is expected the first of the alienists called by the defense will take the stand.
In his statement to the Tombs physician Schmidt went into details regarding his often asserted notion that he was consecrated by St. Elizabeth of Hungary. He said, according to the doctor, that St. Elizabeth appeared to him and said: “You shall henceforward be my priest,” and told him that as a sign of her especial consideration he must use his second finger rather than his forefinger in the fracture and elevation of the Host at mass.
Was Euthanasia Enthusiast, Doctor Declares.
Schmidt told Dr. Lichtenstein that the Church ought to encourage euthanasia or killing those hopelessly ill.
“I would like to make money so good that nobody could know it was counterfeit,” Schmidt told the physisican.
Schmidt said he wanted to get money by counterfeiting to build a great church for the poor. Forgery was no crime, Schmidt told Lichtenstein, so long as one by will transposed himself into the personality of the person whose name he used.
Schmidt wrote incoherent letters to Dr. Lichstenstein about the propriety of preying on the rich for the good of the poor and on other subjects relating to personal behavior. These were written after his indictment for murder.
May Bar Women At Schmidt Trial For Decency Sake, The Evening World, page 2, column 4.