Killer Priest: The Crimes, Trial, and Execution of Father Hans Schmidt
He was a Catholic priest and a killer. Hans Schmidt, ordained in Germany in 1904, arrived in the United States in 1908 and was assigned to St. John's Parish in Louisville, Kentucky. Arguments with the minister resulted in Schmidt's transfer to St. Bonaface Church in New York City, where he met beautiful Anna Aumuller, a housekeeper for the rectory who had recently emigrated from Austria. Despite another transfer to a church far uptown, Father Schmidt and Anna continued a romantic affair and, in a secret ceremony he performed himself, they were married. When he discovered she was pregnant, Father Schmidt knew his secret life would soon be exposed. On the night of September 2, 1913, he cut Anna's throat, dismembered her body, and threw the parts into the Hudson River. When the body was discovered, he was arrested and charged with the murder. A media circus ensued, as the New York papers became fascinated by the priest and his double life. After feigning insanity during his first trial, which ended with a hung jury. Father Schmidt was eventually convicted of first degree murder and sentenced to death, making him the only priest ever executed for murder in American history.
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