Schmidt Ready For More Deaths
Had Photographic Copies Made of the Death Certificate of One Robert Smith.
Blank Forms In His Trunk
Police Believe He Planned to Kill and Then Bury Victim with a Doctor’s Aid.
Holmes Crimes Recalled
“Dr.” Muret Said to be Alfred Mueller, Priest’s Cousin – Coroner’s Jury Finds Schmidt Guilty.
Detectives under Inspector Faurot got evidence last night that Hans Schmidt, the priest who murdered and dismembered Anna Aumuller, had made preparations for accounting for the death of his victim, and perhaps other deaths, by means of forged death certificates.
Photographs of death certificates and a number of the blank forms issued by the Board of Health were found in the priest’s trunk. To dispose of the body of a dead person without arousing suspicion all that would be necessary would be the signature of a physician to a certificate stating a natural cause of death. This could be forged.
Detectives will question Ernest Arthur Muret, Schmidt’s confederate, who prefixed “Dr.” to his name, to see if Muret is willing to admit that he was familiar with any schemes of Schmidt to prepare fraudulent death certificates, and they will trace out his record with minute exactness if they can.
Made Copies for Schmidt.
Leon Beach, a photographer at 49 Manhattan Street, identified yesterday four photographic copies of a death certificate which he had made for Schmidt. The document certified the death of Robert Smith, a retired business man, whose age was stated to be 69 years and whose address was recorded as 215 West 123d Street.
The priest hurried into the photographic studio one day last April and said that he must have without delay two copies of the front and two of the back of the death certificate. He as vexed when told that he could not get the photographs until the day following, but he left the order nevertheless.
Two copies of each side were found by Inspector Faurot’s detectives in Father Schmidt’s trunk. Schmidt wore his priest’s garments on both trips to the photographic studio.
Inspector Faurot’s men suspect that Schmidt had the death certificate photographed with the purpose of making several counterfeits in order to be able to forge false death certificates. Schmidt’s record reveals numerous instances where he has committed forgery in the preparation of spurious documents. He obtained his connections with churches in this country by forged papers, was prosecuted in Germany for forgery, and was suspended from the priesthood by the Bishop of Mainz because he had forged certificates purporting to show that he had completed certain advanced courses of study.
Smith Died of “Heart Failure.”
The theory started by the priest’s photographic work on death certificates was that he may have intended to account in this way for a missing person who had met death at his hands. The detectives believe that he may have been preparing for the murder of Anna Aumuller as far back as last April.
Smith died on April 29 of heart failure. Before his death Father Schmidt paid two visits to him, on the last one administering extreme unction. Father Schmidt officiated at the funeral and received for his services $17 from Mrs. Smith. Mrs. Smith said last night that she did not know how the priest had obtained temporary possession of the death certificate.
The finding of the death certificates recalled the case of H. H. Holmes, alias Herman Mudgett, who was hanged in Philadelphia in 1895, after he had murdered eleven persons, and, in the case of several of his victims, collected large sums from life insurance companies by means of forged death certificates.
Detectives from the 125th Street Station were searching last night for a young woman whom Schmidt had paid several visits. They located the place where she lived, but found that she was away temporarily.
Verdict of Jersey Coroner’s Jury.
The Coroner’s Jury in Jersey City, after an inquest over the remains of the parts of the body of Anna Aumuller which were recovered from the Hudson River, rendered a verdict last night that she had been murdered by Hans Schmidt.
The jury finds that Anna Aumuller met her death on or about Sept. 2, 1913, at the premises at 68 Bradhurst Avenue, in the City and County of New York, at the hands of Hans Schmidt. We recommend that action by taken by the New York authorities. We also recommend that the parts of the body in the possession of the Hudson County authorities, together with the paper, wire, and other articles of evidence, be turned over to the New York authorities.
Inspector Faurot told on the stand of the confession made to him by the priest when he was arrested last Sunday morning. Mary Hirt, who was formerly employed with Anna Aumuller as a domestic at St. Boniface’s Church, told of identifying the body by a mark on the chest. Several other witnesses testified to the finding of various parts of the body and as to the cause of death.
Muret Complains of Third Degree.
Ernest Arthur Muret, the pseudo-dentist, of 301 St. Nicholas Avenue, who was arrested as an accomplice of Schmidt in counterfeiting, was sought by Scotland Yard men in 1911 on suspicion that he was connected with the white slave trade and with the circulation of indecent literature, according to dispatches from London. He was then operating under the name of Dr, Ernst, one of half a dozen aliases assumed by him. The story of his flight to this country was told in letters signed “You loving wife, Vera,” which were found in his St. Nicholas Avenue apartment.
In a written statement sent out from his cell in reply to a note from reporters Muret last night denied that he had a wife and qualified as a witness to support Schmidt’s insanity defense by saying that he had parted from Schmidt because of his wild talk of being directed by St. Elizabeth. He added that he was too weak to write any more because of the “third degree” he had been put through at Police Headquarters. His note in full follows:
I have only read The World to-day, and found it full of untrue statements. First, I have never been married; second, I never asked Assistant District Attorney Murphy before I made my statement that no questions should be asked regarding the murder or the counterfeiting.
I readily answered all these questions, but, of course, I could not make statements implicating Schmidt, because I simply do not know anything. Regarding the rest, time will show everything, and you can rest assured that I do not need to worry.
The newspapers accounts contain no statement why Schmidt and I quarreled in August, when we practically parted. Schmidt began then to show signs that St. Elizabeth was with him, and he wanted to become a second Jesus. I called him crazy and he was sore at me.
I cannot see anybody of you at present because I am, on account of maltreatment at Headquarters, ill.
I am coughing blood. This is enough for to-day. I shall be pleased it you will send me a good fountain pen. I am without funds to buy one.
I was his against chest and back when I denied that I knew anything about the murder or counterfeiting. Torturing prisoners has not yet been abandoned by the New York police. The hissing between the teeth of Detective Cassassa “I knock your head off before I get through with you” is still ringing in my ears.
Counterfeiting Case Complete.
The police learned yesterday that the copper plates used by Schmidt in his photo-mechanical process of counterfeiting had been cut by A. G. Hauver, dealer on photographic supplies at 126 West 130th Street. Hauver telephoned yesterday to Inspector Faurot that he had discovered from newspaper photographs that Schmidt and Muret were two men who had called at his shop some time ago with a strip of copper 36 inches long and 12 inches wide. Schmidt, according to Hauver, instructed him to cut it into plates 8 by 4 inches.
Hauver said it occurred to him that pieces of copper this size could be used in counterfeiting and that he asked the priest to what use they were to be put. The priest evaded the question. Hauver then asked if they were for making a sign and Schmidt replied eagerly:
“Oh, yes, that is what I was going to use them for.”
According to Hauver, Schmidt paid several visits to his shop, and sometimes was accompanied by Muret.
Muret pleaded guilty yesterday in Special Sessions to the charge of having a revolver in his possession without a permit, and was remanded until Oct. 2 for sentence. He acted as his own counsel. The revolver found in the desk in Muret’s office was a .22 calibre weapon of foreign make. Muret said that he had purchased the revolver in Hamburg eight years ago and that it had not been discharged from that day to this. It was brought to his attention that two of the six cartridges in the revolver had been discharged.
“That was when I fired it the day I bought it eight years ago,” said Muret. “It is useless now. I have tried several times to fire it, but it would never go off.”
Inspector Faurot denied that Muret had been maltreated, and asserted that neither himself nor any of his detectives had laid a hand on the man.
“It looks to me like a dangerous weapon,” said Justice McInerney. “It can be concealed in the palm of the hand or in the vest. I would not want any one to practice on me with that revolver.”
“I am willing to have any one practice on me with it,” said Muret.
Anna Aumuller’s Nightgown Found
The nightgown believed to have been worn by Anna Aumuller when she was murdered by Schmidt in the apartment in Bradhurst Avenue was found yesterday afternoon in a vacant lot on the north side of 165th Street, between Fort Washington Avenue and Riverside Drive. It was wrapped in a section of newspaper dated Aug. 31. A portion of the same paper was in the bundle containing the lower part of the torso of the murdered woman.
The sleeves had been ripped from the gown, and it had been cut in several places. The garment was taken to the cell of Father Schmidt by Deputy Sheriff T. J. Corrigan, Jr., who found it. He was accompanied by Detective Hyman of Headquarters.
Schmidt would not say whether it was the one worn by the murdered girl, but he admitted that he had dismembered her without removing the gown.
Inspector Faurot telegraphed to the police in Chicago yesterday, but could obtain no information regarding “Helen Green,” the woman who went to Chicago after writing a letter to Schmidt telling him that she could not live without him. She lived in this city at Hillel Hall, 201 West 109th Street, but nothing could be learned there about her. When Schmidt was asked about her by his lawyer, he said:
“She was just a woman I knew, just a casual acquaintance. We were not on intimate terms. She has no connection with this case.”
Van Dyke Another Schmidt Alias.
Schmidt admitted that he had gone by the name of A. Van Dyke and had rented a room at 124 West Eighty-fourth Street under that name. He told his lawyer that he did not remember why he had engaged this room. Mrs. Mary Manzer, who has the apartment on the ground floor at that address, said:
“The man who called himself Van Dyke had a room here for two weeks last January, but he never lived here. He was in a few times during the day, but never at night, and always alone.
“I had put an advertisement in the paper that the room was for rent at $2 a week, and the low figure attracted him. He said he was a traveler, and that, being in and out of town a good deal, he did not know when he would sleep there.
“I remember that once he brought a box here with a pair of shoes. My little girl asked him if it was a doll. He laughed and said ‘No.” But he came a day or two later with a handsome doll which he gave to her. The man looked like the pictures of Schmidt, but I could not be sure unless I saw him face to face.”
Schmidt admitted last night that he had loaned $300 to Muret and taken his I.O.U. for it, but said the loan was made in April of the present year. When told that the note had the date of April, 1911, he said it must have been accidentally misdated. Both Schmidt and Muret insist that their acquaintance is only of ten months’ duration.
Muret May Be Schmidt’s Cousin.
Inspector Faurot, however, still insists that they are kin. Their facial likeness and the fact that a picture of Muret bore the imprint of a photographer of Mainz, Germany, where Schmidt was a priest, support this belief, and it was strengthened yesterday by the receipt of telegrams from Aschaffenburg, Germany, the native town of Schmidt, that Muret is there believed to be Adolph Mueller, a cousin of Schmidt.
Alphonse G. Koelble, Schmidt’s lawyer, yesterday asked his client where he had got the money to pay for the counterfeiting equipment, to lend $300 to Muret, and to rent several flats at the same time. Schmidt said that it was money which he had been accumulating for years. He said that Muret had borrowed the money to tide him over when his New Jersey real estate deals had pecuniarily inconvenienced him.
Schmidt refused to write any notes yesterday in reply to questions. He was sick on Wednesday night and required the attention of the Tombs physician. Yesterday he was feeling badly, he said, but, according to his lawyer, he showed more mental alertness and interest in his own situation than at any time since his arrest. Yesterday for the first time he read newspaper accounts of himself.
Attorney Koelble said yesterday that he was looking for an alienist who would serve free of charge as a witness for Schmidt.
“There is one point the prosecution should worry about a little,” said Mr. Koelble. “They have not yest established ‘corpus delicti.’ They have not yet the means of proving that the body in the morgue is that of the girl that Schmidt murdered.
“The identification of the girl by Mary Hirt is worth nothing. She did not remember seeing on Anna Aumuller the blue birthmark which is on the back of the body in the morgue. She could only say that a mole on the body resembled one she had seen on Anna Aumuller. Thousands of people have such moles.”
May be Impersonating Schmidt.
Inspector Faurot mailed to the authorities in Hamburg, Germany, yesterday finger prints of Schmidt and Muret, with the request that it be determined if either has a criminal record. He said:
“I am at present investigating a report that Father Schmidt died, and that the man in the Tombs simply impersonated him. I am not at liberty at this time to tell the source of my information, but I consider that there is a strong warrant for the investigation.”
Inspector Faurot refused to tell anything more about the letters found in possession of Schmidt and Muret. They form a large bundle.
District Attorney Whitman said that he thought the Coroner’s inquest would be a long one, and that it would be impossible to place Schmidt on trial this month. Attorney Koelble said yesterday that the defense would not ask for a day’s delay, and would be ready to proceed as soon as the prosecution was. He added that Schmidt did not appear to have a friend in the world.
Schmidt Ready For More Deaths, New York Times, 19 September 1913, page 1 and page 3.