Nobody Helped Him To Kill Girl; Ready To Die, Says Schmidt
“I Have Told All; I Shall not Deny Anything; I Am Ready,” Says Man Who Killed and Dismembered Woman.
Faurot Calls Schmidt Master of Criminals.
Death Certificates Found in His Possession Would Have Enabled Him to Dispose of Other Bodies.
Through his counsel, Alphonse Koelble, Hans Schmidt, the murderer of Anna Aumueller, made a statement to the press this afternoon in which he said that if he could convince the authorities of Louisville that he murdered eight-year-old Alma Kellner in that city in 1909 he would confess that he committed that crime and thus save John Wendling, who is serving a life sentence. “They can sent me to the electric chair but once,” said Schmidt, “so what difference would it make if they accuse my of one murder or two or half a dozen murders? If I could get this man Wendling out of prison I would confess that I committed the crime for which he is suffering; but it would not be true and I couldn’t show that it was true. I was in Louisville when the little girl was killed, but I had nothing to do with it. “As for my case, I do not see why you newspaper men and the District Attorney keep piling questions on me all the time. I haven’t denied anything, have I? I admit that I killed Anna. I shall not deny anything. I have told all I know. The District-Attorney knows all, the press knows all. Why all this delay and red tape? “Of course, the District Attorney wants me to go to the electric chair. And I want to go to the electric chair. Why not send me there and give room for something else in the papers. “I am sorry for any man who thinks this life is worth living. Many a time I have faced death. I face it now without even the quiver of a muscle. I am ready this minute or next month.
“I alone am responsible,” Schmidt Says Finally.
“For the last time and finally I say that I know nothing about anybody else. I alone am responsible. I do not think it right to drag other people into this and make them suspects, for some part of that suspicion is bound to stick to them the rest of their lives. I want anybody brought under suspicion to know that I am not responsible for their trouble, for I shoulder all the responsibility. Death is only a step to another life, and I am through with this life. I am not afraid of what is beyond because I did what was my duty. “As for Dr. Muret, he is not guilty of any crime. I have known him only ten months and if the police have any writing dated 1911 indicating that I knew him longer than that it is a mistake. Dr. Muret and I quarreled in August. What he said about the quarrel is right. I told him I had St. Elizabeth with me and was acting under her instructions in attempting to make counterfeit money to give to the poor.”
Not His Boy: Helen Green An Acquaintance.
…. you had at the rooming house in West Eighty-fourth street …Schmidt was asked. “… I know who..” was the reply. What do you know about Helen Green … sends you letters and is …? Schmidt was asked. “… a casual acquaintance. That is all I have to say about myself. I have been very frank with the District Attorney and I wish he would start the machinery and send me to the electric chair without delay.” A book of blank death certificates, such as are issued by the Board of Death to physicians for making returns of the death of patients, was found today among the effects of Schmidt. This book, taken in connection with two photographs of a different form of death certificate, also used by physicians, found last night among Schmidt’s papers, indicate to Inspector Faurot that the renegade priest probably was planning a series of murders, his plot including the disposition of the bodies of his victims in an apparently open and legal way. “From what I have found in the possession of this man Schmidt and his partner Muret,” said the Inspector, “I would believe anything about them. There is no telling what forms of villainy Schmidt has been engaged in. His papers have given us fifty clues, any one of which is liable to turn up something new about his activities. His industry was amazing and his resourcefulness was wonderful. But I am unable to say now whether we caught him at the beginning or at the end of a series of homicides.”
Old Women With Money Probably His Prey.
From documents found it is believed by detectives that Schmidt may have contemplated killing old women with money and getting possession of their fortunes. As a priest, he could gain their confidence, with poison he could hasten their end, and with the death certificates in his possession he could have them buried in a formal way without attaching any suspicion to himself. The woman, Helen Green, who lived at No. 201 West One Hundred and Ninth street and disappeared several months ago, has not been located by the police. Schmidt says he knew her casually. Ardent love letters written by her have been found in his papers. Inspector Faurot will not say he believes Helen Green met the fate of Anna Aumueller, but he admits intense anxiety to learn what became of her. The death certificate blanks found in Schmidt’s possession today have been sent to the Board of Health for investigation. Their discovery takes on added value from the fact that Schmidt had photographs of another form of certificate issued in the case of Robert Smith, sixty-nine years old, who died at No. 213 West One Hundred and Twenty-third street last April after a short illness, during which he was attended by a Harlem physician. Schmidt, in his capacity of a priest of St. Joseph’s Church went to the Smith home to console the family. while there he stoles the certificate, took it to a photographer at No. 89 Manhattan street and had two photographs made of it. Then he returned the original certificate, the Smith family not knowing that he had taken it away.
Held Also “Return” Certificate to Health Board.
But the certificate such as he had photographed is not the only one a physician is compelled by law to make in the case of the death of a patient. One certificate is given to the undertaker, who takes it to the Board of Health in the routine of asking for a burial permit. This was the one Schmidt photographed. At the same time the physician makes out another certificate known as a “return,” which he forwards to the Board of Health in person. No burial permit is issued until the “return” is compared with the certificate presented by the undertaker. The “return” is a check on the undertaker’s certificate. A book containing ten of these blank “returns” was found in Schmidt’s effects. Nobody but a physician of standing can get a book of certificates from the Board of Health. It is not known whether Schmidt stole this book or whether he had it made up after a form of a certificate he had stolen in the case of a person who had died. At any rate, Schmidt had in his possession a photograph of one form and actual blanks of another form used by doctors in making returns of deaths to the Health Department. With these in his possession, he was in a position to present a forged certificate to an undertaker, send another forged certificate to the Board of Health and bury anybody he might want to put away. There was something about the blank book that inspired Inspector Faurot with immediate zeal and he soon had detectives working on clues which he had probably gathered from it. He would not say if he found any writing in the book, but declared that none of the ten blanks had been used. “It is a peculiar fact,” remarked the Inspector, “that this man and Johann Hoch, who was known to have murdered eighteen women, came from the same part of Germany.” A note was sent to Schmidt in his cell in the Tombs today asking him to explain why he had photographed the Smith certificate and also requesting information on other matters. He sent back, written in German, a poetic quotation of which the following is a rough literal translation:
“Who ne’er ate his bread in tears; “Who ne’er, through the dreary night upon his pallet, weeping, sat, “Knows Ye not Ye Almighty Powers.”
A postcard addressed to “Rev. Joseph Schmidt, St. Joseph’s Rectory, West One Hundred and Twenty-fifth street, New York,” was received at the Tombs today. It had been forwarded from the rectory. The card was dated Sept. 12 and was mailed in London. It was a peasant card, carrying on the back a picture of Trafalgar Square. Written on the face was this message:
“My very best wishes, Cathleen O’Malley, Hotel Russell, London, W. C.”
Murdered Girl May Have Been Shot, Expert Says.
Acting Captain Jones, revolver expert of the Police Department, today made a thorough examination of the revolver found in the office of “Dr” Muret at No. 201 St. Nicholas avenue, which the dentist yesterday pleaded guilty to having possessed unlawfully. “The examination showed that the revolver, contrary to what Muret said yesterday, is in excellent condition,” said Inspector Faurot. “I recall that Dr. King, County Physician of Hudson County, N.J., who examined the recovered parts of the Aumuller girl’s body, declared there was a possibility the girl may have been shot prior to the dismembering of her body. A special investigation will be begun along this line and every effort will be used to determine the truth, if any, which may lie in such a supposition.” “Dr.” Muret, the fake dentist, sent a long written tale of woe from the Tombs this afternoon. Some of his statements follow: “My fountain pen and money were taken from me at Headquarters and have not been returned although I have asked for my money repeatedly. Further, has my bank book been taken from me. Detective Cassava probably has it. Although I have but $45 in the bank it would so far ease my misery. The prison food does not agree with me. “It is true that Inspector Faurot treated me with consideration and I am grateful. He may not have given the authority to his men, but he will not be able to deny that one of them him me on the chest and the shoulder and knocked me against the wall of my apartment at No. 301 St. Nicholas avenue long before I was placed under arrest. You can imagine what happened to me when I was alone in Headquarters with one detective. “I desire to state that I am not related to Schmidt. I have known him only since December 1912. The fact that he was an ordained priest sufficed me to accept his friendship.” All that the river has given up of Anna Aumueller’s body will be brought to New York today from Hoboken and placed in the Morgue at the foot of East Twenty-sixth street. If the present plans are carried out, Hans Schmidt will be taken to the Morgue and be made to look upon the body he cut to pieces. The police believe he will then give them what details he may have been holding back and complete their case against him. New Jersey’s connection with the case ended last night with the inquest in Jersey City. Inspector Faurot testified as to Schmidt’s confession and Miss Anna Hirt, a friend of the dead woman, identified the torso by a mole on the right breast. The Coroner’s Jury of six returned a verdict that Anna Aumueller came to her death at the hands of Hans Schmidt, on or about Sept. 2, and recommended that the exhibits, including the body and all other evidences, be turned over to the New York authorities. Coroner Schlemm congratulated the New York police on their fine work in the case. Inspector Faurot’s belief that Schmidt and Muret, the fake dentist, were closely related seems to be well founded. Dispatches today from Aschaffenburg, Schmidt’s birthplace, state that it is believed there that Muret is Adolph Mueller, a cousin of Schmidt. He and Schmidt were close friends. Mueller lived at Mainz, where Schmidt went to school, and later went to Hamburg, where he disappeared. It is also learned that Muret has been known as E. Stein, under which name he operated in England. Finger prints of both men have been sent to Europe for investigation.
Muret Charges Police Beat Him at Examination.
Detectives were following a new clue in the vicinity of Englewood, N. J., today, working in conjunction with Chief of Police Titus there. They refused to talk about it. In a new statement concerning his counterfeiting plans, Schmidt says he did not intend to try to pass any bad money until he had made a large quantity of it. Then he intended to distribute it among the poor. A systematic dredging of the Hudson in the vicinity of One Hundred and Fifty-second street was begun this morning under the direction of Detective O’Neill in hope of finding the head of the Aumueller girl. It was near this point fisherman reported bringing up a quantity of human hair. Some of the detectives are openly pessimistic about the “clue.” They do not regard it as likely that Schmidt threw the head into the river without wrapping it in something. He says he put a sheet and blanket around it, and weighted it with a stone. If he did, it is unlikely that a fisherman’s hook could have brought any of the hair to the surface.
The police are depending on a report from the German police on Schmidt’s finger prints to settle the question as to whether he is Hans Schmidt, the priest, or an impostor who in some manner came into possession of Schmidt’s papers.
Judge Warren J. Foster has consented to hear the Schmidt case when it comes to trial, which probably will be in October. It is practically settled that Schmidt’s defense will be insanity. When the question is raised, Mr. Whitman will insist on a citizen’s jury of twelve laymen, as in the Robin case. To have the issue determined by a commission of three would take too long, Mr. Whitman thinks. If the insanity plea fails, the defense will then deny that the torso is that of Anna Aumueller. Alphonse G. Koelble, Schmidt’s lawyer, says the prosecutions will be unable to prove that it is despite Anna Hirt’s identification by a mole. He declares her testimony cannot stand up long under cross-examination. The police, however, don’t anticipate any difficulty in convicting Schmidt, even leaving his confession out of consideration.
Nobody Helped Him To Kill Girl; Ready To Die, Says Schmidt, The Evening World, 19 September 1913, page 1, column 5 and page 2, column 1.