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HELEN SCHMIDLAP MURDER TRIAL

Transcribed by Cindy Logan

 

 
Aspen Daily, Denver, Colorado, Wednesday, July 13, 1905 (page 1)
HELEN SCHMIDLAP MURDERS HUSBAND
 
WOMAN WHO KILLED HUSBAND REGRETS NOT
 
 
Spectacular effects 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.
 
Early Tuesday 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.
 
 
 
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Aspen Daily, Denver, Colorado, Saturday, July 16, 1905 Page 1) 
 
WANTED TO BE OWN HANGMAN
 
MRS. SCHMIDLAP, HUSBAND SLAYER, ATTEMPTS SUICIDE
 
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 authority.  

 
 
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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.

 
During the 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 averted.
 
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.
 
 
 
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Aspen Daily Times, Denver, Colorado, Wednesday, October 18, 1905(page 1)
 

HELEN SCHMIDLAP SHOWS INTENSE INTEREST IN TRIAL

 

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."

 
 
 
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Aspen Daily, Denver, Colorado, Friday, October 20, 1905 (page1) 
 
INVOLUNTARY MANSLAUGHTER
 
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 California.
 
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.
 
 
 
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Aspen Daily, 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.
 
 
District Attorney 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. Schmidlip.
 
 
 
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Aspen Daily, 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."
 
 
 
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Aspen Daily, Denver, Colorado, Tuesday, December 19, 1905 (page 1)
HELEN SCHMIDLAP BREAKS DOWN
 
SWOONED AWAY IN HER CELL AND DOCTORS SUMMONED
 
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.
 
 
 
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Aspen Daily, Denver, Colorado, Thursday, February 1, 1906 (page 1)
HELEN SCHMIDLAP BECOMES NERVOUS DURING TRIAL
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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.
 
 
 
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Aspen Daily, Denver, Colorado, Tuesday, February 5, 1906 (page 1)
HELEN SCHMIDLAP DECLARED NOT GUILTY
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Spectators Rush to Grasp the Hand of Woman When Freed
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 officers.
 
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.

 
 
 
 
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Aspen Daily, 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 criticisms.
 
 
 
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Aspen Daily, 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 that woman.
 
 
 
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Aspen Daily, 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 conditionally.
 
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 her.
 
 
 
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