On this date May 31, 1964, Charles Schmid 22, John Saunders and Mary French lured fifteen-year-old Alleen Rowe into the desert outside Tucson, Arizona and murdered her. Earlier in the night, Schmid had said to his friends, “I want to kill a girl! I want to do it tonight. I think I can get away with it!”
Schmid raped Rowe and then smashed her head with a rock before digging a shallow grave in which to bury her. Providing alibis for each other, the threesome allowed police to write off Rowe’s disappearance as a runaway case.
The following year, 17-year-old Gretchen Fritz, who had been secretly dating Schmid, disappeared, along with her younger sister Wendy. Schmid, had killed the girls in the desert, but couldn’t resist talking, so he enlisted Richard Bruns’ help in burying the bodies. Schmid went on to kill two other teenaged girls. He later bragged about killing four people, but if there was a fourth, it was a teenaged boy that he killed before he met Rowe.
Bruns soon began to fear Schmid would kill his own girlfriend, so he dropped a dime on killer to the cops about the Fritz murders. The subsequent trial gained national attention and Schmid was convicted and sentenced to death. However, the Supreme Court invalidated most death sentences in 1972 and Schmid skated into a life sentence. Later that year, he escaped from state prison, only to be caught a few days later.
On March 10, 1975, Schmid was stabbed 47 times by two fellow prisoners. I’m sure there was a line forming to help this dirt-bag. After losing an eye and a kidney, he was said to have died as a result of the attack. On March 30, 1975, his body was stolen from the morgue.
The cops recover the body and Schmid’s mother chose the prison cemetery for his burial, believing if he was buried in a public cemetery, his tombstone might be defaced. He was not buried in a casket.
After Schmid’s trial and conviction, Katharine Schmid and her second husband owed her son’s legal team more money than they could afford and ended up living in near poverty in Coolidge, Arizona.