this day in crime history: may 31, 1964

On this date in 1964, Charles Schimd, the “Pied Piper of Tucson,” murdered fifteen year old Alleen Rowe. The 23 year old Schmid–so self-conscious about his small stature that he would put crushed beer cans and rags in his boots to make himself look taller–managed to convince several local teenagers to help him set up Alleen to be killed, and then dispose of her body. His motive: he wanted to see what it felt like to kill someone. Schmid went on to murder two more teenage girls when they threatened to expose him.

Charles Schmid was arrested in November 1965. He was convicted and sentenced to death. His sentence was eventually commuted to life in prison, thanks to our ever-compassionate justice system. In 1975, his death sentence was carried out anyway, compliments of some never-compassionate inmates in the Arizona State Prison yard. They shanked the little psycho (a few dozen times) and left him in a pool of his own blood. Schmid’s family refused to claim his remains. He was buried in the prison cemetery.

Schmid was the inspiration for the short story “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” by Joyce Carol Oates. If you’ve never read it, the full text is posted on her website here. Great story.

Murderpedia – Charles Howard Schmid

Wikipedia – Charles Schmid


3 thoughts on “this day in crime history: may 31, 1964

  1. Go inmates! Maybe I’m a bad person for thinking this, but I believe that people that commit these kinds of crimes against children should also get the chance to suffer a horrifying and painful death. Who better to carry it out than people whose brains are already programmed to kill? That way some prison guard doesn’t have to grapple with whether he was morally correct in carrying out a death sentence.


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