The Only Catholic Priest Executed By The United States

Born in Germany, Hans Schmidt was an odd child. He would often watch cows and pigs being processed in a slaughterhouse. By the time Schmidt turned 25 years old, he would be ordained as a priest but after 4 years of service in Germany and due to many disagreements with the senior staff at the church he was forced to relocate to Kentucky, USA.

Schmidt didn’t last long in Kentucky before being relocated again, to St. Boniface Church on the east side of Midtown Manhattan. He wasn’t the only new face at St. Boniface Church, an Austrian woman named Anna Aumuller had recently been hired as the housekeeper. It didn’t take long before Schmidt and Aumuller began having an affair but after the church found out about the affair Schmidt was transferred to St. Joseph’s Church in West Harlem.

But not the distance or the fact that priests were banned from getting married couldn’t stop the two lovers from being together and on February 26th, 1913 Schmidt and Aumuller married in a ceremony performed by Schmidt himself.

The marriage was short-lived because, on September 2nd, 1913 Schmidt slit Aumuller’s throat with a 12-inch butchers knife. He then cut her head off with a hack saw, cut her body in half, wrapped the pieces of her body in newspaper and dumped her in the Hudson River.

Three days later, two kids playing by the river found her torso an investigation by the NYPD found that Aumuller had given birth prematurely before she was murdered. When authorities searched Aumuller’s apartment the walls and floor were covered in bloodstains, showing just how brutal her murder was.

Detectives went to visit Schmidt and he confessed to the murder immediately, stating that “I loved her. Sacrifices should be consummated in blood”. Schmidt was arrested and charged with murder.

On December 7th, 1913 Schmidt’s trial began and his lawyers began claiming that he was overwhelmed with blood lust and too insane to know right from wrong. The trial ended in a hung jury 10-2 with 2 jury members believing Schmidt was insane.

Schmidt wasn’t as lucky during his second trial after being found guilty of Aumuller’s murder and sentenced to death by electric chair. On February 18th, 1916 Hans Schmidt was executed.

Further investigations uncovered a secret apartment that Schmidt had rented and inside they found a printing press and counterfeit money. Authorities also discovered that he was planning on teaming up with a Manhattan dentist and they were going to commit a bunch of murders and claim the life insurance money of their victims.

There have also been reports that the body of a 9-year-old girl was found in the church that Schmidt first worked at when he arrived in Kentucky. The girl’s body had been dismembered similarly to the way Aumuller’s body was dismembered.

Police were also able to track Schmidt back to Germany where they discovered that German police had trace evidence linking him to the murder of a young girl in his hometown but he was executed before he could be charged with that murder.

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