Hello everyone, and welcome to Forgotten True Crime by Okie Investigations, the True Crime Podcast where we tell the stories of crimes that happened long ago. If you are a true crime fan, make sure you subscribe to the podcast. That way, when we have new episodes, you will be the first to know. Also, check us out on our Facebook page Okie Investigations and visit our blog TrueCrime.Blog where we post a lot of the cool things we found for each episode. This episode, “Silent Night, Deadly Night,” has a lot of exciting stuff for you to dig into. Make sure you go there and check it out.
Parts of this story may contain opinions and speculations and should be taken as such. These stories depict violent crimes of all types and may be a trigger for some listeners. Listener discretion is advised. This story discusses suicide. If you or anyone you know is suicidal, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. It is a United States-based suicide prevention network of over 160 crisis centers that provides 24/7 service via a toll-free hotline with the number 1-800-273-8255. It is available to anyone in a suicidal crisis or emotional distress.
Hello everyone, we are still in “The 12 days of Murder.” From now and until the new year, I will be debuting several new episodes that are Christmas-themed. Many of these cases are ones you probably never heard of before, so make sure you subscribe to the show. That way, when we have new episodes, you will be the first to know. Check out TrueCrime.blog and our Facebook Paige, Okie Investigations for bonus stories as well.
I hope everyone is having a great Holiday Season. Its been very busy for me, but I have been enjoying it. I do have a programming update for next month. Seeing that it is the start of the new year, I want to spend the month getting caught up on research and writing. So, there will be a couple of episodes and bonus content that will come out in January 2022. Doing this helps set us up for the year in staying ahead on content. Make sure you subscribe to the show so when new episodes are out, you are the first to know. Also, these podcasts live and die on word of mouth. If you can be so kind, please let others know about the show. It will help us grow and be able to provide better and better content down the road.
Today we have an extraordinary episode, it’s going to be a little short, so this may end up being a bonus episode. We will see. But if you remember our last two episodes, we had covered the sad story of Elizabeth Ford Griffith. She died on Christmas eve in unusual circumstances. She died in Dr. Schott’s office, her employer, in 1919 while he was supposedly out delivering presents. Dr. Schott was believed to be the murderer, but the prosecutor failed to convince a grand jury of his guilt, and he was allowed to be set free with no charges against him.
Personally, I believe that Dr. Schott killed poor Elizabeth. He was jealous of her pending marriage, and perhaps the holidays set him over the edge. He found a young 13-year-old girl who would be his alibi and used her to save his life.
Now, 8 years after the grand jury decision, on April 17th, 1928, police are again summoned to Dr. Schott’s new sanatorium. Because another murder has taken place…
Around 1:45pm in the afternoon in Louisville, Kentucky, Lieutenant John Guttermuth received a phone call about a reported shooting at the local sanatorium. He was one of the first officers to have arrived on the scene. As he walked inside, he was met by a man named Dan Newman. Dan was a nurse at the sanatorium. He told Lt. Guttermuth that he shot Dr. Schott in self-defense and was now dead. Continued and said that the Dr. was verbally assaulting him and the staff and that he reached into his pocket as if he were pulling out a gun. That’s when Dan pulled his own gun and shot the Dr. before he could shoot him.
The officers took Dan into custody and brought him back to the station. From his admission, he could be let go if this was indeed in self-defense, like he said. But they needed to hold him just to make sure. He could also be facing murder charges if it came to it.
Lt. Guttermuth walked into the kitchen where Dr. Schott’s body was. The Dr. was on the floor. He was shot three times. Once in the heart, once in the shoulder, and the other in the liver. It was noted that the Dr. smelled like Alcohol. It was also noted that the Doctor did not have a gun on him. When Nurse Dan pulled his gun and shot the Doctor, he shot an unarmed man. Further investigation showed that Dan had fired the gun 5 times. Two bullets missed and struck the room behind him.
Detectives then interviewed the only witness of the shooting. Mrs. Frances Beckley. Mrs. Beckly stated that the Doctor had awoken a patient of the sanatorium. He then berated her, and then he shouted at Mrs. Beckly to put her to bed. Then, he noticed that a key was not in the door to the kitchen where it was supposed to be left. He then turned back and started shouting and cussing at Mrs. Beckly, the cook, whose job was to operate the kitchen.
That’s when Dan stepped in and told the Doctor that he could not treat his employees that way. The two got into a heated argument which then ended with Dr. Schott being killed.
Dr. Schott had been spiraling out of control for some time now. Ever since he was accused of Elizabeth’s murder, things never got back to normal. Instead of private practice, Dr. Schott decided to open up a sanatorium. The first one he opened burned down. He made the news when he had helped rescue several nurses from the burning building. He also made the news when he wrecked his car in 1925. A woman was with him, and she sewed him for several thousand dollars because of his reckless driving. She refused to say why she was in the car with the Doctor, just that he was driving unsafe when they wrecked.
In the months that led up to Dr. Schott’s death. He had been drinking a lot. One nurse stated that she had been working there for several months and had not seen him sober once. There were rumors of Dr. Schott having affairs with other nurses and clients alike. He treated women as if they were something to possess, a toy, nothing else.
Dr. Schott’s body was laid to rest on April 19th, 1928. He was buried in a lot adjoining the one that contained Elizabeth Griffith. He was not buried next to her like he once stated.
Meanwhile, Dan Newman was not as lucky with a grand jury as Dr. Schott. Dan was charged with murder. The Detectives were able to show that not only was the Dr. unarmed, but it also appeared that he was trying to get away from Dan and had presented him with no danger. The idea that self-defense could be used in this case made no sense to the state prosecutors.
The Corners Jury also came to the same conclusion. Although they do not assign full legal guilt, they concluded that it was Dan who killed the Doctor. Now, long-time listeners to the show know what a corner’s jury is, but I will give a brief explanation. A coroner’s jury is like any other jury, except these individuals are Medical Doctors. Depending on the state, they examine the body, they make a conclusion of how they died, and in some states, they investigate the crime and name who they think was responsible.
Dan Newman’s Trial began on June 11th, 1928 , just two months after Dr. Schott’s murder. The state explained the circumstances of the crime to the jury. That the Doctor was unarmed and presented to threat to anyone. The Detectives testified to Dan’s actions they first arrived, how he admitted to killing the Doctor, and he handed over the weapon that he brought to work. Through testimony, they let the jury know that the Doctor was trying to leave the room when he was shot and killed.
But when it came to the Defence, they came up with a very unique strategy. They called witnesses that spoke about the Doctor’s excessive drinking. They talked about the wild parties that he threw and how he treated women regularly. They interviewed the nurses who talked about the affairs he had with multiple women and that he was always drinking at work.
Then they called Dan Newman to the stand. He told of a story of how, several months before the shooting, he was spending time with Dr. Schott while he was heavy drinking. Dr. Schott confided with Dan that he had killed not once but twice and gotten away with two murders. He bragged that he could not be taken down by anyone. Dan didn’t like where the conversation had gone and had changed the subject. But the next day, the Doctor remembered what had been said and that now someone knew of his past crimes. Ever since then, Dr. Schott began to treat Dan horribly. he even threatened him several times. This was why Dan was carrying a gun to work. He was afraid that Dr. Schott would try and kill him, just like his last two victims.
On the day of the shooting, Dr. Schott was in a rare mood. He was treating everyone horrible, and Dan had enough when he saw him screaming at the cook. So, Dan told Dr. Schott that he could not treat his employees that way. The Doctor then started yelling at Dan, and then he reached into his pocket as if he were grabbing something. Dan thought it was a gun, and he pulled his first and shot the Doctor. He told the jury that he didn’t want to, but he felt like his life was in danger.
The case was handed over to the jury. They deliberated for 31 minutes. When they came back, everyone felt as if they knew the verdict. It was never a good sign for the Defence when they quickly came back. The jury found Dan Newman not guilty of murder. It was said that Dan bounced up and down joyfully in his chair when the verdict was read aloud. Afterward, members of the jury came down and shook Dans and his council’s hands. The state prosecutor was furious at the judgment. He asked the judge to throw out the self-defense plea, convict Dan for murder, and sentence him to 20 years in prison. But the judge struck that idea down quickly.
This case was very odd, start to finish. One of those that could have very quickly gone very wrong for Dan. But the jury sided with him and believed in his testimony enough to let him off on self-defense when the other person was unarmed.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I have minimal sympathy for Dr. Schott. I believe that he murdered Elizabeth and got away with it. I also believe Dan when he says that Dr. Schott admitted to killing two people, and it makes me wonder who that second person could be.
But, this is all the time I have for today. I hope you all enjoyed this short series. I am working on more Christmas themed stories for the Podcast or on the website TrueCrime.blog, so make sure you go and check those out. Make sure you subscribe and I will see you all next time, see ya!