Fr Hans B. Schmidt

Fr Hans B. Schmidt

Aschaffenburg, Stadtkreis Aschaffenburg, Bavaria (Bayern), Germany
Death 18 Feb 1916 (aged 34–35)
Ossining, Westchester County, New York, USA
Burial Ossining, Westchester County, New York, USA
Memorial ID 77222122 · View Source
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Father Hans B. Schmidt was a Roman Catholic Priest, the only one to receive the death penalty in the United States.

Born in Germany and ordained there at the Seminary of Mainz in 1904, Schmidt was sent to the United States in 1908, where he was assigned to St. John's Parish in Louisville, Kentucky. There, a rift with another priest resulted in Schmidt's transfer to St. Boniface Church in New York City.

While serving in New York, Schmidt met Anna Aumüller, the attractive housekeeper for the rectory who had recently emigrated from Austria. Despite his subsequent transfer to a church in a distant area of the city, Father Schmidt and Anna continued a secret sexual relationship. It was later revealed that they were married in a secret ceremony of dubious legality, which Father Schmidt performed himself. However, after discovering that Anna was pregnant, Father Schmidt slashed her throat on the night of September 2, 1913, dismembered the body, and threw the pieces into the Hudson River.

Once the body was discovered, a police investigation led to Father Schmidt and he was arrested and charged with the murder. A media circus spectacle ensued, comparable to those caused by the Scott Peterson and Mark Hacking cases of a later era, as the New York papers competed against each other with an ever greater degree of sensationalism regarding the case. 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 in the electric chair. On February 18, 1916, Father Schmidt was executed at Sing Sing Prison. He remains the only priest ever executed for murder in the United States.

  • Created by: Eman Bonnici
  • Added: 28 Sep 2011
  • Find A Grave Memorial 77222122
  • Shevlin McCann Moore
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Fr Hans B. Schmidt (1881–18 Feb 1916), Find A Grave Memorial no. 77222122, citing Sing-Sing Prison Cemetery, Ossining, Westchester County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Eman Bonnici (contributor 46572312) .