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Mark Gado

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Death Row Women: Murder, Justice, and the New York Press (Crime, Media, and Popular Culture)
Mark Gado  More Info

Killer Priest: The Crimes, Trial, and Execution of Father Hans Schmidt (Crime, Media, and Popular Culture)
Mark Gado  More Info

According to one reader of Killer Priest: The Crimes, Trial, and Execution of Father Hans Schmidt, “Killer Priest by Mark Gado is an electrifying story expertly told. Hans Schmidt, the only priest ever to be executed for murder in the U.S., had character flaws that surfaced during his childhood in Germany. He had no use for his brothers or friends, but became transfixed with religion and killing. When adolescent sexual fantasies become intertwined with images of death and slaughter, problems are almost certain to arise. As an introverted teenager, the intelligent and scholarly Schmidt drifted into ecclesiastical studies. However, the character flaws and sexual conflict deepened and he ran afoul of the law. He became a thief and a forger who was ostracized by the clerics that knew him.

Gado's meticulous research traces Father Schmidt's twisted childhood in Germany, through his years at the seminary in Mainz, his flight from Europe and eventually his first clergy assignment in Louisville, Kentucky. A missing nine-year-old girl case raised questions at his parish and Father Schmidt suddenly leaves Louisville and heads for New York City. There, he secretly married a beautiful young woman in a ceremony he performed himself. When her dismembered body parts turned up in the Hudson River, a city became mesmerized by the spectacle of a Catholic priest arrested for a murder...and the possibility he was a serial killer!

As a seasoned detective, Gado carefully lays out the investigation and the manner in which the detectives built the case against Schmidt. Once it got to court, Schmidt, ever the manipulator, attempted to hide behind the insanity defense - creating the disturbing risk that the killer could have been turned over to the custody of the Catholic Church.

Gado's experiences in homicide and death investigation, his first-hand understanding of the criminal mind and his ability to dramatize a story so effectively combine to make Killer Priest an excellent read.”

About the New Rochelle Police Department

The Town of New Rochelle established its first professional police department in the Spring of 1885. Up until that time, for almost two centuries, the community had employed constables to provide law enforcement services.


The New Rochelle Police Department now employs over 250 personnel with 186 sworn police officers and features the latest development in law enforcement services including community oriented policing. The Department currently responds to close to 50,000 calls for service, investigates over 2,000 Part 1 crimes, and processes 3,000 arrests every year. In its history it has responded to and managed literally millions of police functions and events from simple traffic control business to standoffs with barricaded gunmen and multiple homicides.



Mark Gado was a detective with the City of New Rochelle Police Department in New York for the past twenty-nine years. He was also a federal agent assigned to a D.E.A. Task Force from 1997 to 1999. During that assignment, he received the International Award of Honor in New Orleans, LA. Mark was also named Investigator of the Year 2000 and received dozens of other awards and commendations during his long police career. His the author of Killer Priest: The Crimes, Trial, and Execution of Father Hans Schmidt and Death Row Women: Murder, Justice, and the New York Press.


According to the description of Killer Priest: The Crimes, Trial, and Execution of Father Hans Schmidt, “He was a Catholic priest and a killer. Hans Schmidt, ordained in Germany in 1904, arrived in the United States in 1908 and was assigned to St. John's Parish in Louisville, Kentucky. Arguments with the minister resulted in Schmidt's transfer to St. Boniface Church in New York City. There he met beautiful Anna Aumuller, a housekeeper for the rectory who had recently emigrated from Austria. Despite his transfer to a Church far uptown, Father Schmidt and Anna continued a romantic affair and, in a secret ceremony he performed himself, they were married. When he discovered she was pregnant, Father Schmidt knew his secret life would soon be exposed. On the night of September 2, 1913, he cut Anna's throat, dismembered her body, and threw the parts into the Hudson River. When the body was discovered, he was arrested and charged with the murder. A media circus ensued, as the New York papers became fascinated by the priest and his double life. 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. He remains the only priest ever executed for murder in the United States.”


According to the description of “Death Row Women: Murder, Justice, and the New York Press, “During the 20th century, only six women were legally executed by the State of New York at Sing Sing Prison. In each case, the condemned faced a process of demonization and public humiliation that was orchestrated by a powerful and unforgiving media. When compared to the media treatment of men who went to the electric chair for similar offenses, the press coverage of female killers was ferocious and unrelenting. "Granite woman," "black-eyed Borgia," "roadhouse tramp," "sex-mad," and "lousy prostitute" are just some of the terms used by newspapers to describe these women. Unlike their male counterparts, females endured a campaign of expulsion and disgrace before they were put to death. Not since the 1950s has New York put another woman to death. Gado chronicles the crimes, the times, and the media attention surrounding these cases. The tales of these death row women shed light on the death penalty as it applies to women and the role of the media in both the trials and executions of these convicts. In these cases, the press affected the prosecutions, the judgments, and the decisions of authorities along the way. Contemporary headlines of the era are revealing in their blatant bias and leave little doubt of their purpose. Using family letters, prison correspondence, photographs, court transcripts, and last- minute pleas for mercy, Gado paints a fuller picture of these cases and the times.”

According to a Choice review of Death Row Women: Murder, Justice, and the New York Press, “Using a small but rich data set to write about an obscure research topic, former New York police detective and federal DEA agent Gado provides insight into contemporary practices associated with punishment, media, and the way social institutions interact to justify capital punishment. He discusses in detail the stories of six women executed in New York's Sing Sing prison. Media accounts from the era in which these women were accused, tried, and eventually executed lead readers to question the media's true intent. Referring to headlines, selective facts, colorful nicknames, and wild exaggerations, Gado describes how these women, their crimes, and the state response were socially constructed. Media contributions offered in a competitive environment are contrasted with police reports, court transcripts, prison files, letters written by the condemned, photographs, and eyewitness accounts. Although Gado gives preference to this evidence, the media's role cannot be discounted. He raises gender issues when contrasting stories about the demonization of these women with the routine coverage of condemned men. Without providing answers, Gado's text highlights moral inconsistencies that many continue to confront when examining capital punishment. Highly recommended. General, undergraduate, and graduate collections.”

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