HELEN SCHMIDLAP MURDER TRIAL
Transcribed by Cindy Logan
Aspen Daily, Denver, Colorado,
Wednesday, July 13, 1905 (page 1)
HELEN SCHMIDLAP MURDERS
WOMAN WHO KILLED HUSBAND
with her divorced husband in the foreground, Mrs. Helen
Schmidlap, who second husband, William M. Schmidlap, in his
room, attend each other in quick succession. Morbid curiosity is
to blame. Each day crowds of visitors call to see Mrs. Schmidlap
in her dingy cell at the city jail and as says the Denver News
with the grace of a hostess at an afternoon tea, the woman, who
is accused of murdering her husband, give a cordial greeting to
all her friends. The little iron-barred cell is now a bower of
flowers, gifts of Mrs Schmidlap's female friends.
morning Albert Ezekiel, former husband of the prisoner,
accompanied by their two little boys, called at the city jail
and for the first time since the death of her husband by her own
hand Mrs. Schmidlap saw her two little sons.
The reunion of the
small family father and mother and two innocent children in the
cold, forbidding jail was pathetic in the extreme. With a child
on each side of her, the alleged murderess sat for an hour
chatting with her little ones, whose childish minds failed to
realize the horror of the situation until finally, with their
bright little faces whether in similes they were led away by
their father, who had stood a silent spectator.
Aspen Daily, Denver, Colorado, Saturday,
July 16, 1905 Page 1)
WANTED TO BE OWN HANGMAN
MRS. SCHMIDLAP, HUSBAND SLAYER, ATTEMPTS
Selected Making A Rope of Sheeting In Jail
Prison Officials and Others Try to Suppress
the Matter - Ex-Husband's Denial
Haunted by the tragedy of her dead
husband, did make Helen Schmidlap try to escape her future by
taking her own life?
It is stated on
good authority that on Thursday night the woman attempted
suicide. A slight noise in her cell attracted the attention of
the guard's and she was discovered hastily putting torn slips of
her bed sheet around a rope. The rope was removed and a stricter
guard has been kept for Mrs. Schmidlap ever since.
The warden and other officers at
the jail are very reticent about the matter and refuse to
discuss it. Mrs. Schmidlap when questioned smiled but say
nothing. The only person who would do any talking was her
former husband and he denied that any such incident occurred.
I have talked with my former wife
and I know that there is no truth in the story. It is only
another one of the many foundationless stories that have been
and are being published to prejudice the case of the woman, said
Mrs. Schmidlap's former husband. Despite the ascertains the
reported attempt at suicide is, as stated, based upon reliable
Aspen Daily, Denver, Colorado, Tuesday, October 17, 1905 (page1)
ON TRIAL FOR LIFE
HELEN SCHMIDLAP IS CHARGED WITH MURDER
Mrs. Helen Schmidlap is today
facing twelve men who are to decide her fate. Ten minutes after
the West Side Court opened this morning the jury had been
completed and the little woman found her self scanning the
countenances of the men who held the scales, she made no attempt
to read in the faces before her sympathy or a stern desire to
see the killing of Wm Schmidlap avenged, but is content to await
and abide her time, until both sides have told their stories.
proceedings in the trial of the Schmidlap case this morning
Attorney Hilton for the defense, charged District Attorney
Whitford with interrupting him so that the force of his
narrative would be lost upon the jurors. Attorney Whitford
becoming angry hurled the charge "In his adversary's teeth and
dared him to prove it." For a time an altercation seemed
certain, but owing to the officers of the court trouble was
In his opening
address Attorney Hilton showed that the defense would be upon
the ground of both temporary, emotional and hereditary insanely
and self defense.
Aspen Daily Times, Denver,
Colorado, Wednesday, October 18, 1905(page 1)
HELEN SCHMIDLAP SHOWS INTENSE INTEREST IN
Pregnant with human interest was
the Schmidlap trial this morning as the battle for and against
the rights of the beautiful woman waged hot, and for the first
time since the jury since the jury chosen and the case opened
Helen Schmidlap betrayed anxiety, leaning forward with tense
haggard face and straining eyes to much each word as it should
fall from the words of witnesses. When she objections entered by
the prosecution were sustained, as they often were, causing much
testimony in her favor to she done away with, she made no effort
to conceal her footings; but evidenced by every expectation and
move the horrible gnawing anxiety of which she has been the
victim. She had been almost variably gay before coming to the
court room and standing before the broken bits of mirror in her
cell adjusting the veil preparatory to her pilgrimage to the
court room, had said to Matron Dunnegan; "I have absolutely no
doubt as to the outcome of this case. I had every confidence in
my attorney which never yet deceived me, the something which
showed me already that Will Schmidt and not myself and the
children do tell me I will in a short time be a free woman."
Denver, Colorado, Friday, October 20, 1905 (page1)
May Be Verdict Of The Helen Schmidlap Jury
The Jurors Stand Eight For Acquittal and
Four For Voluntary Crime
If Mrs. Helen Schmidlap's called
upon to face a second trial on the charge of killing her
husband, it is expected a compromise will be effected by her
plea of guilty to involuntary manslaughter and accepting the
maximum sentence of a year in the county jail.
Mrs. Schmidlap and her attorney, O.
N. Hilton have been sounded by the prosecution on the
proposition and while she was too unnerved to say exactly what
she would do in the event that the prosecution is willing to let
the case go on such a plea, she animated that she would be glad
to have it over with, one way or the other.
Considerable delay would be
experienced in reaching a new trial, because of the fact that
the next time the testimony of the state will come from
Mrs. Schmidlap now shows every
evidence of an approaching collaspe from the nervous trial. The
jury at noon today stood eight for acquittal and four for
voluntary manslaughter or according to authority that could
scarcely be quested. It was said the compromise probably will
be involuntary manslaughter.
Pale and worn from the nerve raking
ordeal, Helen Schmidlap was taken to the West Side Court at 10
o'clock this morning to learn that the jury had not only failed
to agree but that there was little prospects of a verdict at the
present date. At 2 o'clock this afternoon, when the jury was to
be called in Judge Palmer's court room, word was received that
they wanted instructions on some legal point, which indicates
that a verdict may yet be reached.
Denver, Colorado, Saturday, October 27, 1905 (page 1)
DIFFICULT TO SECURE SECOND SCHMIDLAP JURY
Will it be possible to secure
twelve men in Denver to try Mrs. Helen Schmidlap again? Are
there enough men in the city to make up a jury which has no
other opinion as to the innocence of guilt of the defendant?
There are the situations confronting District Attorney Stidger.
On account of the notoriety given
the case at the first trial, Attorney Stidger realized that
practically every citizen in the city who would make a arguable
jury man is prejudiced. Even a citizen has made up his mind it
does not necessarily prelude him from serving on a jury. A
citizen who says he can lay aside his prejudices and render a
verdict can be accepted under the law, but much jury men are
scarcely ever satisfactory to the counsel in the case.
Stidger is satisfied that if a jury is secured it will take
days, if not weeks, to do the work. Panel after panel will have
to be exhausted and venire after venire will have to be called.
It is possible that the city's male population will have to be
secured as through a alive to find enough men to try Mrs.
Denver, Colorado, Saturday, November 25, 1905 (page1)
JUST LIKE A WOMAN
Mrs. Helen Schmidlap with a woman's
heart and a woman's wrath has ordered her former husband, Albert
Ezeikel, from the county jail where she is awaiting trial on the
charge of murdering her second husband, and Mrs. Schmidlap
earnestly vows that she will see no more of Eziekel and has
asked the guard not to admit him again.
She claims that while Ezeikel has
been most faithful in his intentions to his former wife, he has
done but little to help her in a pecuniary way and has done
practically nothing for the two children that are now kept by
Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Sparhawk without any remuneration whatever.
Ezeikel visited the jail almost daily for the first few months
of the woman's incarceration and continued his visits until
yesterday when Mrs. Helen Schmidlap sternly ordered him to leave
her presence at once and never return while she was in the
Denver County Jail.
Ezeikel did so and
has not yet returned. "I simply couldn't stand for his fussing"
said Mrs. Schmidlap today as she sat in her cell. "Mr. Ezeikel
would come to see me and sit for hours talking and quarreling
with me through those bars."
Aspen Daily, Denver, Colorado, Tuesday, December 19, 1905 (page 1)
HELEN SCHMIDLAP BREAKS DOWN
SWOONED AWAY IN HER CELL AND DOCTORS
At Times Is Very Much Dejected and Next
Moment Seems Happy
Disappointed Because She Cannot in Time to
Enjoy Christmas Dinner With Children
Believing that she has a call from
the Supreme Being in the doctrine of spiritualism, Mrs. Helen Schmidlap, confined in the county jail on the charge of
murdering her husband, to lay swooned away in a fit of by
hysteria and so serious was her condition that two doctors were
called. The beautiful face and form of the woman that shot her
husband nearly five months ago has stood the confinement
causally well, Mrs. Schmidlip has been determined that she would
not break down, that she was going free to eat Christmas dinner
with her little children, and that she would be working during
the holidays and breathing the free air under the glorious same
sky of Colorado.
But the dream from the woman's
heart, the mother heart has asserted itself and today Helen
Schmidlap is not the Helen Schmidlap of a month ago, a week ago
or even a day ago. It is custom not to arise in the morning
until she feels that all sleep that the gods of dreams will give
her are passed for the time and in accordance with this custom
nothing was thought of her resting this morning. It was nearly
11 o'clock when Matron Dunagan was first accosted by agonizing
groans. Then the prisoner screamed and the jail rang with her
cries. The prisoners craned their necks and the woman in charge
of the woman's department rushed to the cell of Mrs. Schmidlap
to find her ringing her hands, and just coming out of a faint.
She was raving, she
was crying, she was laughing and would then settle down with a
gloom of deep remorse. The always happy prisoner up to day was
in awful agony. She had the appearance of one dying at one
interval and at the other would laugh such as might characterize
a feast of the Bachantes with all the wine and rich meats their
appetites could desire.
Denver, Colorado, Thursday, February 1, 1906 (page 1)
HELEN SCHMIDLAP BECOMES NERVOUS DURING TRIAL
Helen Schmidlap showed the first
bit of feeling resembling remorse that she has yet exhibited
since the tragedy of last July, 1905, when Dr. Edward Delehantly,
the first witness for the prosecution was describing on the
stand in the West Side Criminal Court this morning, the
condition of the body of Wm. Schmidlap when examined it and the
location of the fatal bullet wound. During the telling of this
gruesome story. Mrs. Schmidlap hung her head and her hands and
fingers worked nervously. Not once did she look up until the
physician's narrative had been directed by her counsel's cross
examination into channels of general medical information. The
woman's eyes were downcast, her face became paler and she
appeared plainly ill at case for several minutes.
After nearly three
days of summoning and examining a jury was finally selected this
morning for the second trial of Helen Schmidlap, accused of the
murder of her husband last July.
Denver, Colorado, Tuesday, February 5, 1906 (page 1)
HELEN SCHMIDLAP DECLARED NOT GUILTY
Spectators Rush to Grasp the Hand of Woman
Defendant Makes Public Statement To The
Public On Her Trial
"We the jury find the defendant,
Helen Schmidlap, not guilty as charged in the information -
James W. Hanna, foreman."
As the small slip of paper on which
written the fate of Helen Schmidlap was handed to Clerk Bishop
in the West Side Criminal Court promptly at 10 o'clock, hearts
all but stood still and faces blanched in anticipation of what
the outcome would be.
"Read the verdict of the jury, Mr.
Clerk." spoke Judge Carpenter, after glancing at its contents
and not betraying by a single line of his face what fate had in
store for the woman who leaned forward in her chair waiting
eagerly for the worst to fall.
"Gentlemen," said the court, "you
are discharged from further consideration of this case and the
court thanks you."
There was an audible murmur in the
court room. Spectators shifted in their seats, anxious to rush
to the front and grasp the hand of the woman whom the law had
justified in killing her husband, but the bailiff kept his post
close behind the prisoner and not a single individual ventured
beyond the railing which separated the spectators from the court
The following is a statement made
by Mrs. Schmidlap to the public:
To the men and women of Denver; Now that my trial
is at last ended I wish to say a few words to the public
to correct if possible what I feel must be a wicked and
false impression in the minds of many respecting my acts
and my demeanor since and during the time I have been
confined in the county jail. I hope I have never been
the cruel, unfeeling and vain woman that I have been
painted, and my chief agony during all this terrible
ordeal has been to realize that I have been so cruelly
misquoted and misrepresented by certain of the public
press in this city. If I am guilty of any crime it has
been that I have not tamely submitted to abuse and
vilification from a drunken and abandoned husband that
no self respecting woman would tolerate had I so done I
would not have been my father's child. I reversed the
usual rule and while admitting the necessity is a
terrible one, yet I have never felt, nor do I now feel
that under like circumstances I would not do the same
thing again. My revolver spoke for me and mine, and for
all that a wife holds dear and scared, and I have no
anxiety but that the verdict of the jury will be
concurred in by all true husbands and all good wives and
mothers. I am stratified with the outcome now and for
the future. My only other hope is that I may now be
allowed to vanish from the public eye forever. Very
truly, Helen C. Schmidlap.
Denver, Colorado, Tuesday, February 6, 1906 (page 1)
TRIAL JUDGE CRITICIZES SCHMIDLAP VERDICT
Judge Samuel Carpenter of the
criminal division of the District Court has aroused the wrath of
the twelve men comprising the jury which yesterday acquitted
Helen Schmidlap of the murder of her husband.
Judge Carpenter has
dismissed the twelve from any further attendance on his court
and in dismissing them be citizens them most severely their
verdict was not in accord with his idea of justice. Now several
members of the jury have demanded that Foreman James W. Hanna
call a meeting of the twelve and make reply to the court's
Denver, Colorado, Saturday, August 4, 1906 (page 2)
MRS. SCHMIDLAP AGAIN
Hardly six months
after being acquitted on the charge of murder. Helen G.
Schmidlap is destined to come again in the limelight in the
case George Kuppling offers resistance to the suit for divorce
instituted by Matilda Kuppinger.
Kupplinger is manager of the
Brunswick bowling alley. Not long ago the wife sued him
for divorce but the complaint was suppressed in the district
courts. The charge is infidelity. Mrs. Schmidlap's name is not
included but, "one certain woman" is referred to as having
broken up the Kuppinger home and Mrs. Schmidlap is said to be
Denver, Colorado, Tuesday, October 22, 1907 (page 2)
SHE DOESN'T LIKE SINGLE BLESSEDNESS
Mrs. Minnie Schmidlap, 1138 Clayton
Street, widow of Cale D. Schmidlap, in the County Court
yesterday, filed a statement rejecting the provisions of her
late husband's will. Under the terms of that instrument Mrs.
Schmidlap, in order to enjoy the entire property and its income,
must remain a widow. Her statement filed in court elects to
accept, instead of the whole, on those conditions, her widow's
half of the estate, and be free to marry again if she will. Her
friends want to know if she already has in view a succesor to
her late husband, who, if such is the case, will be the third to
lead her to the altar.
Mr. Schmidlap died
at St. Joseph's hospital September 23, 1905 . His will
bequeathed a few keepsakes to old friends, members of the
Masonic order and the remainder of his property to his widow
That his wife should have decided
so soon after his death that she does not want all of the
property, which consists of realty to the value of $3,000, from
which an annual income of $300 is received, and personal
property to the value of $200, is deemed significant of her
intentions to again marry, although no confirmation can be had.
The Schmidlaps have
been more or less in the public eye since Mrs. Helen Schmidlap,
more than two years ago, was accused of the murder of her
husband, William Schmidlap. It is belief of all of his friends
that the untimely death of his brother and the uncertainty of
its cause, the two trials and final acquittal of the widow, had
much to do with the death of Cale Schmidlap. Worry and grief, it
is believed undermined his health to such extent that when
illness attacked him his power of resistance was entirely gone.
His peculiar will
cause much comment among his friends. Mrs. Schmidlap has a son
by her first husband, George Herbert Chandler, who lives with