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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk


The New York Times
December 9, 1922

Body Was Found in Abandoned Sedan—Confessed Slayer Had Bullet in Knee.


Says Revolver Went Off Unexpectedly, Missile Passing Through Victim's Head Into His Leg.

Henry J. Schluter, a prosperous garage owner of Palisades Park, N. J., was found dead at 6 o'clock yesterday morning in a Ford sedan which had been abandoned at a lonely spot along Anderson Avenue, Fort Lee.  A bullet hole was found in his head and the floor of the machine was covered with blood.

While police under Acting Sergeant Joseph Shokoff were interrogating residents in the houses nearest the scene as to whether they had heard cries for help or the sound of a revolver shot, Andrew Catona, a night watchman, appeared at the Palisades Park Police Station and gave information which quickly cleared up the death.

Catona said that about 4 o'clock yesterday morning he saw a tall man half carrying along the street a smaller man who appeared to have been injured.  He followed the two, he said, to the home of Walter Fischer, a garage owner, at Second Street and Central Boulevard, Palisades Park.

Assistant Prosecutor C. J. McCarthy and County Detective Nathan Allyn went immediately to the Fischer home, where they learned that Fischer was confined to bed with a pistol wound in his left knee.  According to McCarthy, Fischer when interrogated admitted he had killed Schluter, but insisted the shooting was accidental.

In his confession as given out by McCarthy, Fischer said that Schluter came to his garage on Fort Lee Road, Leonia, about 10 o'clock Thursday night, where they were joined by James Knapp and George Fischer.  They consumed a bottle of whisky during the evening.  Fischer, according to his story, becoming so intoxicated that he did not recall subsequent events except hazily.

Knapp was quoted as telling the authorities that Fischer and Schluter were sitting on a couch in the office of the garage about 2 o'clock.  Fischer was toying with a .45 Colt revolver when Schluter put his head on Fischer's knee. Knapp said that the revolver suddenly went off, the bullet passing through Schluter's head and lodging in the left knee of Fischer.

Knapp was said to have given two versions of what he did after the shooting.  He told Prosecutor McCarthy and Detective Allyn that he became frightened and decided that if he were found with Schluter's body in the room he would be hcarged with murder.  He said that he carried the body into the sedan which belonged to Schluter and drove as fast as possible to the Anderson Avenue spot where he left the car.

Acting Sergeant Shokoff said Fischer confessed that he was on his way to the North Hudson Hospital, a distance of seven miles, when he suddenly discovered that Schluter, who he thought was unconscious, was dead.  Then he determined to abandon the machine.

Knapp admitted to McCarthy that he had removed the other cartridges from the revolver which was found empty on the floor of the garage office.

The authorities ordered Fischer taken under guard to the Englewood Hospital, where the bullet was removed last night.  The physicians said he was in good condition considering the time he had gone without medical attention.

A charge of murder was made against Fischer by Detective Allyn and a charge of being an accessory against Knapp.  George Fischer, a brother of Walter Fischer, who was in the garage but did not see the shooting, was held as a material witness.

Schluter, who was 28 years old and unmarried, lived with Mrs . Herman Schluter, his mother.  During the war Schluter served oversea with the Motor Transport Corps.  He was said to have built up a lucrative business since his return from the service.

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