- Category : 1942-births
- Type : GE
- Profile : 1/3 - Investigating / Martyr
- Definition : Split - Small (22,34,36)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Penetration 2
American serial killer, nicknamed 'Smitty,' and also known as "The Pied Piper of Tucson." His crimes were profiled by journalist Don Moser in an article in the 4 March 1966 issue of Life magazine and are the basis for "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?", a short story by Joyce Carol Oates. Her story was adapted into a 1986 film Smooth Talk, in which Schmid's character, Arnold Friend, is played by Treat Williams. The 1971 movie The Todd Killings is based on the Schmid case, as was the 1994 film Dead Beat and the 2005 film The Lost, adapted from a novel by Jack Ketchum. Actress Rose McGowan's 2014 directorial debut, Dawn, was inspired by the events surrounding the murder of Alleen Rowe. It stars Tara Lynne Barr in the role of Dawn (Rowe), Hannah Marks as Mary French and Reiley McClendon as Schmid.
Schmid was a short man who wore cowboy boots stuffed with newspapers and flattened cans to make him appear taller. He used lip balm, pancake makeup and created an artificial mole on his cheek. He also stretched his lower lip with a clothespin to make it resemble Elvis Presley's. He was called the "Pied Piper" because he was charismatic and had many friends in the teenage community of Tucson. Women liked him and he frequently met them at the Speedway area of Tucson. For a time, the members of his teenage coterie would keep the secrets of his murders.
On 31 May 1964, Schmid decided to murder Alleen Rowe, a high school student living with her divorced mother. Schmid's girlfriend Mary French had convinced Rowe to go out with Schmid's friend John Saunders, but Schmid had intended all along to murder Rowe, in order to know what it felt like to kill someone.
Schmid and his friends took Rowe to the desert, where Schmid and Saunders murdered her. Before murdering Alleen, Schmid told Saunders to rape her, but he couldn't do it, because Saunders was gay. While the murder occurred, Mary French was waiting in the car and listening to the radio. Afterwards the three buried her.
One of Schmid's many girlfriends was Gretchen Fritz, daughter of a prominent Tucson heart surgeon and community leader. Schmid confided to Gretchen that he had murdered Alleen Rowe. There were also rumours that Fritz knew of an earlier, unsubstantiated murder that Schmid supposedly committed. When Schmid decided to break up with Fritz, she threatened to use the information against him. Schmid strangled Gretchen Fritz and her sister Wendy on 16 August 1965.
Schmid confided to his friend Richard Bruns that he murdered the sisters and showed Bruns the bodies, buried haphazardly in the desert. Bruns became increasingly afraid that Schmid was going to murder his girlfriend. Ultimately, Bruns had to go to Ohio because his girlfriend's parents were convinced that he was harassing her. Bruns stayed with his grandparents in Ohio and told them everything he knew about the murders, and flew back to Tucson to help with the investigation.
In 1966, Schmid was found guilty of murder and sentenced to death. Rowe's remains were found in 1967. When the state of Arizona temporarily abolished the death penalty in 1971, Schmid's sentence was commuted to 50 years in prison.
Schmid made a few failed escape attempts, finally succeeding on 11 November 1965 (??), escaping with another triple murderer, Raymond Hudgens. They held four hostages on a ranch near Tempe, Arizona, for a time, then separated, and were finally recaptured and returned to prison.
On 10 March 1975, Schmid was stabbed 47 times by two fellow prisoners. After losing an eye and a kidney, he is said to have died as a result of the attack on 30 March 1975, but his body was stolen from the morgue.