Thursday, January 23, 2014

Thriller Thursday - New Arrest in Girl's Murder


New Arrest in Girl's Murder

Dr. E. Muret, Dentist, of 301 St. Nicholas Avenue, in Hands of Police.

Counterfeit Charge

Complete Outfit Found in Flat He Shared With Priest.

Say Schmidt Bought It

Maidservant in Dentist's Employ Arrested as Material Witness.

A new arrest was made early this morning in the river murder mystery which was solved by Hans Schmidt, an assistant priest at St. Joseph's Catholic Church at 405 West 125th street, who confessed that he killed and cut up the body of Anna Aumuller, a servant in the rectory of St. Boniface's Church, because he loved her.

The prisoner was Ernest Arthur Muret, a dentist, living at 301 St. Nicholas avenue. He was arrested at 1:20 o'clock, taken to the West 125th street station and thence to Police Headquarters. He was charged with counterfeiting.

At the same time Bertha Zeck, a maidservant in the dentist's employ, was locked up as a material witness.

Inspector Faurot said that on June 30 Muret, under the name of George Miller, with Father Schmidt rented a flat at 516 West 134th street, consisting of four rooms and a bath, for which he paid $23 a month.

Muret was identified by the agent, Mrs. Margaret Bowye, and the janitress, Mrs. Margaret Rutledge, as Miller.

In this flat, on the top floor, was found what was apparently a counterfeiting plant. There were a printing press and type. The detectives fished out of the bathroom a white paper the size of a bill on which was the seal of the United States printed in red. It was apparently a $10 bill. There were Xs in each corner.

Say Schmidt Financed Plant.

The receipt for the flat was found among Schmidt's belongings in the rectory, together with a copper plate for one side of a twenty dollar bill. Inspector Faurot's information is to the effect that Schmidt financed the outfit, that he bought a camera and other things and paid the rent. An engraving outfit was found in Muret's dental office, also an obstetrical instrument. Faurot said that Muret admitted that he had no diploma to dentistry, having failed in his examination.

Muret was born in Chicago twenty-nine years ago. He spent his earliest boyhood in a public school in Berlin. At the age of 12 or 14 he began the study of dentistry at the Berlin Dental College and came to New York on the Hamburg-American liner Bluecher in 1903. He acted as an assistant to various dentists in New York until a year ago last December, when he opened his dental office in St. Nicholas avenue.

The dentist said he first met Schmidt in his office last December, when the priest had $58 worth of work done. He denied emphatically knowing anything about the murder of Anna Aumuller.

The arrests were made by Detectives Cassassa, O'Neill and O'Connell.

At the flat the detectives found the printing press set up in a bedroom. The kitchen had been converted into a dark room and the camera was in the dining room. There were many books on engraving, photography and kindred subjects.

Paper With U. S. Seal Found.

Ten pieces of sheet copper such as is used for engraving purposes were picked up in the flat. The detectives rescued from the bathroom twenty-four pieces of white paper bearing the seal of the United States and numbers. The white slips had been partially burned.

When Inspector Faurot showed Muret the copper plate found in Schmidt's room at the rectory he said that he didn't know anything about it.

He strenuously denied also that he had been engaged in counterfeiting operations, although he admitted that he had participated with the priest in the purchase of supplies.

The dentist admitted that a pair of shoes found in the flat hired by "Miller" was owned by him, Muret.

Asked who proposed the scheme of things, as was seemingly outlined by the things found in the flat, Muret evasively replied:

"I was a good man until I met the priest."

He denied that he had been in the flat within the last two weeks.

In Muret's dental office was found a certificate as a notary public bearing the name of Muret. It had been issued by County Clerk Schneider. There was also a certificate of membership in the Dental Protective Association.

Two pictures of Bertha Zech were found in the priest's room at the rectory and two duplicated of the same pictures were found in the dentist's. In Muret's office also were found three pictures of the priest himself, and one of them looked so much like Muret that Inspector Faurot asked him if there was any relationship. He denied that there was.

Four printing press rollers that fitted the press in the flat were found in the dental parlor.

The woman agent and janitress of the flat said that the priest, whom they recognized by his photos, paid the rent for the flat on August 25. By a strange coincidence it was on August 25 that Schmidt rented the murder flat at 68 Bradhurst avenue.

The woman said that "Miller" and his make friend represented themselves as students when they rented the 134th street flat. They never remained in the apartments, she said, later than 9 o'clock at night.

Asked it Schmidt wore his clerical garb when he visited the flat, Muret replied that he didn't exactly remember, but he thought the priest wore a dark coat and kept his collar up around his neck.

Never Met Anna Aumuller.

Muret said that he had never seen the Aumuller girl, but had heard of her and had asked Schmidt to bring her down some time.

Faurot has a boy witness who says that he saw a tall man and a short woman leave the murder flat in Bradhurst avenue. The boy was taken before the priest, but was unable to identify him.

Faurot said for obvious reasons he would not make the boy's name public yet.

Muret is 6 feet tall and his maid Bertha is short. Miss Aumuller was comparatively short.

Inspector Faurot said he first heard of the "counterfeiting" flat when he found in the priest's room at the rectory yesterday morning a receipt for the rent of the flat.

The police went to the flat and were told by the janitress that it had been rented by men calling themselves students. One the strength of the description the detectives went to the dentist office on St. Nicholas avenue.

When Muret finally came back early this morning Detective McKenna held him in conversation while Cassassa went to get the janitress.

As soon as she saw Muret she said: That's the man," according to Inspector Faurot.

The inspector says he believes that the priest forged Muret's dental certificate.

Inspector Faurot said that Muret told him it was Schmidt who first suggested to him the business of counterfeiting. He said he had been a good man until he met Schmidt. He admitted that he had bought a camera and brought it to the flat for the purpose of counterfeiting.

Watched Him All Afternoon.

The inspector said he had had his eye on Muret all afternoon; that he and his detectives had gone to the office in St. Nicholas avenue and that he had sent one of his assistants inside, pretending to have a toothache. Dr. Muret was not in, it was said. Thereupon the inspector planted Detective McKenna outside the door of the office and the detective arrested Muret when he came in early this morning.

Inspector Faurot said that two months ago there was a flood of counterfeit ten and twenty dollar bills about the city.

There was also found in Muret's flat a letter from the Kelsey Press Company addressed to George Miller, which Inspector Faurot says is one of Muret's aliases. The letter said in part:

"Dear Sir - Replying to yours of the 8th inst. we beg to state that the prices of ink rollers for 5x7 Excelsior presses are $1.25 per pair in any quantity ordered."

Faurot asked Muret if he believed Schmidt was insane.

"Don't you believe it," replied the dentist.

Burned Contents of Can.

The police found last night a man in the employ of a contractor named McKnight who said that on September 5, between 3 and 3:30 o'clock in the afternoon, he saw a man carrying a bundle under his arm and a new tin can in 152d street between Seventh avenue and Macomb's place.

This man, according to Inspector Faurot, was also seen by a resident of 152d street in the act of putting the bundle down in a lot. The man then poured the contents of the can over the bundle and set fire to it, tossing the can away. The man was apparently much excited and passed up and down the street until the fire burned out. Actuated by curiosity McKnight's employee stole across the lot, rescued the can and caught the strong odor of kerosene.

Detective James O'Neill got the can and took it to Police Headquarters last night. He made a careful examination of what was left by the fire and found among other things what is apparently a human bone, six or seven inches long, partly charred and evidently sawed off at the ends. The detective also found several pieces of ticking of the same pattern as the pillow case in which a part of Anna Aumuller's body was picked up on the Jersey shore. This piece of ticking, although partly consumed, was readily identified by George Sachs of 2768 Eighth avenue, who had sold it.

Wore Clerical Collar.

In the debris also were found several pieces of a photograph of a man. The head in the picture is missing, but enough was left to indicate that it was a picture apparently representing a man standing on the platform of an observation car of a train. Inspector Faurot said the photograph indicated that the man wore a clerical collar.

There was also a lot of feathers in the debris which are supposed to have come out of the pillow.

The police found among Schmidt's personal effects at the rectory yesterday a legal document in German showing that Johannes Schmidt of Ganzenheim had been charged with attempted fraud in Germany, but the charges had been dismissed because Schmidt had been adjudged insane.

The fact that Schmidt had been declared of unsound mind was also made known yesterday to Mgr. Mooney, vicar-general of the New York diocese, in a cablegram from the secretary of the Bishop of Mayence.

The document, as translated, set forth that the proceedings were before a secret session of the Fourth District Court of Munich on January 29, 1909, before Presiding Judge Hesner and Judges Henser and Lietz.

Accused of Forgery.

The decree read as follows:

"Prisoner Johannes Schmidt of Ganzenheim, charged with forgery of private papers, examined. After the examination and reading of private documents at preliminary hearing, according to the opinion of District Attorney dated January 21, 1907, regarding the complaint against the defendant, his acquittal and return of all papers and documents to him is ordered.

"Resolved, First, the accused Johannes Schmidt, priest, of Ganzenheim, accused of forging papers and attempted fraud, charges dismissed.

"Second - The Royal Court bear the expenses of trial.

"Third - All property to be returned to Johannes Schmidt.

"Reasons - On December 20, 1906, District Attorney accused Johannes Schmidt of forgery private documents and attempted fraud.

"By agreement of Court of Fourth Division he is acquitted for the reason he had been examined by sanity experts who declared that he was not responsible for his acts."

Schmidt spent a day of comparative quiet in the Tombs with Thomas J. Messemer, accused as a wife murderer, as his cellmate. He passed much of his time in prayer, and told his counsel, Alphonso G. Koelble of 29 Broadway, that there was no need of his services, as God and Abraham would look after his interests. Talks with Schmidt convinced Tombs officials that he was insane.

Mgr. Mooney, vicar-general of the diocese of New York, received a cablegram sent at the instance of the Bishop of Mayence, Germany, that Schmidt had been arrested for attempted fraud in that country and had been declared insane by the courts.

Anna Hirt of 301 East Eighty-fifth street, who had been employed as a servant with Anna Aumuller at St. Boniface's rectory, Second avenue and Forty-second street, visited Volk's morgue in Hoboken with Detective Casassa and positively identified all that the water has given up of the dismembered girl. The establishing of the corpus delicti was particularly satisfactory to the District Attorney's office, as it will simplify the work of prosecuting the priest in the event that Schmidt should recant abd declare that there is no truth in his confession or in the case the confession should be thrown out by the courts.

Recognizes Birth Mark.

Miss Hirt recognized a birthmark on the dead girl's right bosom, which had escaped the eyes of the doctors, morguemen and police. As soon as she saw the pillow case in which part of the body was encased she said she made most of the letter "A." Anna's initial, on the pillow slip, and had herself done much of the fancy scroll work. The dead girl's chemise she also recognized.

Miss Hirt made a long statement to Assistant District Attorney Deacon Murphy, telling all she knew about the murdered girl.

The cablegram from Germany about Schmidt's record there was signed "Bendix, secretary for he Bishop of Mayence."

It was in Latin and was translated as follows:

"Schmidt born at Aschaffenburg. Priest of diocese of Mayence. Ordained May, 1907. Ran away from Munich because of attempted fraud. Arrested by police. Declared insane by court and dismissed. Suspended for act and for presenting falsified documents regarding studies he pretended to have made. He then left the diocese."

Father Luke E. Evers, Catholic chaplain at the Tombs, showed the cablegram to Schmidt.

"Isn't a fact," he asked, "that you were suspended by the Bishop of Mayence for falsifying documents?"

"They believe them false," replied Schmidt, "but God gave them to me."

"What reason did you have for coming to this country?" asked Father Evers.

"I ran away without the knowledge of my parents." was the reply.

Father Evers then asked Schmidt what he knew about the death of sixteen year old Anna Kellnerr, whose body was found buried in the basement of St. John's School, Louisville, Ky., while he was in that city. Schmidt answered:

"I don't know anything about it. If I did I would gladly confess all."

Attorney Offers His Services.

Attorney Koelble went to the Tombs yesterday and offered himself as counsel for Schmidt. He explained that he volunteered his services in aid of the priest at the request of Catholic laymen.

"We didn't discuss the murder at all," said Mr. Koelble. "I simply suggested that he needed an attorney and that unless he was represented in court the Judge would assign someone to defend him.

"Schmidt looked at me and replied: 'God and Abraham will reveal themselves in due time to take care of the case. I have no need of an attorney.' "

" 'You have got to have some one to look after the worldly end of this,' I told him.

" 'There is no need,' he answered. 'God and Abraham and St. Elizabeth will appear. They may reveal themselves to you if you appear for me.'

New Arrest in Girl's Murder, 16 September 1913, The Sun, page 1 column 7, and page 2, column 1.