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

Advertisements

this day in crime history: march 13, 1964

KG

On this date in 1964, 28 year old Catherine “Kitty” Genovese was murdered outside her apartment building in Queens, NY. Her killer, 29 year old Winston Moseley, stabbed her twice, but fled the scene when he thought he had been seen by one of Genovese’s neighbors. He returned a short while later to find Genovese on the ground at the back of her building. He then raped her, stabbed her several more times, and robbed her of $49.

Two weeks later, an article in the New York Times told the story of how as many as thirty-eight of Genovese’s neighbors had heard her scream, but had made no effort to assist her or call the police. The story ignited a national controversy about the apparent callousness of people living in large cities. The details of the Times report are still disputed to this day. Many of the people living in the neighborhood at the time stated that they could not hear the attack, and those that did hear something weren’t certain what was actually happening.

Winston Moseley was arrested six days after the murder. He was tried and convicted of the crime. He was originally sentenced to death, but the NY Court of Appeals overturned the sentence and reduced it to 20 years to life. Moseley died while incarcerated at Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, NY. He was 81 years old.

Further reading:

“Thirty-Eight Saw Murder Didn’t Call the Police” (Original New York Times Article)

Wikipedia – Murder of Kitty Genovese

New York Times – “Reviving Kitty Genovese Case, and Its Passions”

this day in crime history: october 29, 1964

On this date in 1964, Jack “Murph the Surf” Murphy and his crew pulled off the largest (at the time) jewel heist in US history. Murphy and Alan Kuhn broke into the American Museum of Natural History in New York, while accomplice Roger Clark waited in the getaway car and acted as lookout.

When Murphy and Kuhn broke in, the alarm didn’t sound. It had been turned off to save electricity. They broke into several display cases and stole a number of gems. One of the cases–the one containing the Star of India Sapphire–had a separate, battery-powered alarm. Murphy and Kuhn didn’t realize this until they had already started cutting the glass. They went ahead and finished the job anyway. No alarm sounded. It had a dead battery, as it turned out. A sudden sound in the corridor surprised the thieves, and they beat feet out of the museum.

The crew made tracks for Miami with their swag. The haul of 24 gems included the Star of India, which at 563 carats was the largest sapphire in the world (valued at $410k in 1964). They also stole the Delong Ruby (100 carats), the Eagle Diamond (14 carats), and the Midnight Sapphire.

Once the boys got back to Miami, it was party time. The celebration was short lived. Like most thieves, their plan for the heist was better than their plan for the getaway. The police got a tip from a suspicious bellhop who noticed that they were suddenly flush after a short trip out of town. The cops arrested them 24 hours after the burglary. They say the best parties always seem to end too soon.

The Star of India, the Delong Ruby, and some of the other stolen gems were eventually recovered. The Eagle Diamond was among several that never were. I guess that’s the price you pay for shutting off the building alarm and using cheap batteries in the display case alarm.

Further reading:

Wikipedia article on Jack Murphy

Archived Court TV article on the heist

Murph the Surf, a movie about the heist

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

this day in crime history: march 13, 1964

KG

On this date in 1964, 28 year old Catherine “Kitty” Genovese was murdered outside her apartment building in Queens, NY. Her killer, 29 year old Winston Moseley, stabbed her twice, but fled the scene when he thought he had been seen by one of Genovese’s neighbors. He returned a short while later to find Genovese on the ground at the back of her building. He then raped her, stabbed her several more times, and robbed her of $49.

Two weeks later, an article in the New York Times told the story of how as many as thirty-eight of Genovese’s neighbors had heard her scream, but had made no effort to assist her or call the police. The story ignited a national controversy about the apparent callousness of people living in large cities. The details of the Times report are still disputed to this day. Many of the people living in the neighborhood at the time stated that they could not hear the attack, and those that did hear something weren’t certain what was actually happening.

Winston Moseley was arrested six days after the murder. He was tried and convicted of the crime. He was originally sentenced to death, but the NY Court of Appeals overturned the sentence and reduced it to 20 years to life. Moseley, who is now 81 years old, is currently incarcerated at Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora, NY. He is scheduled for a parole hearing in November 2017.

Further reading:

“Thirty-Eight Saw Murder Didn’t Call the Police” (Original New York Times Article)

Wikipedia – Murder of Kitty Genovese

New York Times – “Reviving Kitty Genovese Case, and Its Passions”

this day in crime history: october 29, 1964

On this date in 1964, Jack “Murph the Surf” Murphy and his crew pulled off the largest (at the time) jewel heist in US history. Murphy and Alan Kuhn broke into the American Museum of Natural History in New York, while accomplice Roger Clark waited in the getaway car and acted as lookout.

When Murphy and Kuhn broke in, the alarm didn’t sound. It had been turned off to save electricity. They broke into several display cases and stole a number of gems. One of the cases–the one containing the Star of India Sapphire–had a separate, battery-powered alarm. Murphy and Kuhn didn’t realize this until they had already started cutting the glass. They went ahead and finished the job anyway. No alarm sounded. It had a dead battery, as it turned out. A sudden sound in the corridor surprised the thieves, and they beat feet out of the museum.

The crew made tracks for Miami with their swag. The haul of 24 gems included the Star of India, which at 563 carats was the largest sapphire in the world (valued at $410k in 1964). They also stole the Delong Ruby (100 carats), the Eagle Diamond (14 carats), and the Midnight Sapphire.

Once the boys got back to Miami, it was party time. The celebration was short lived. Like most thieves, their plan for the heist was better than their plan for the getaway. The police got a tip from a suspicious bellhop who noticed that they were suddenly flush after a short trip out of town. The cops arrested them 24 hours after the burglary. They say the best parties always seem to end too soon.

The Star of India, the Delong Ruby, and some of the other stolen gems were eventually recovered. The Eagle Diamond was among several that never were. I guess that’s the price you pay for shutting off the building alarm and using cheap batteries in the display case alarm.

Further reading:

Wikipedia article on Jack Murphy

Archived Court TV article on the heist

Murph the Surf, a movie about the heist

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