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Eugen WEIDMANN

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Robberies and ransom kidnappings
Number of victims: 6
Date of murders: July-November 1937
Date of arrest: December 8, 1937
Date of birth: February 5, 1908
Victims profile: Jean de Koven, 22 (ballet student) / Joseph Couffy (chauffeur) / Janine Keller (private nurse) / Roger LeBlond (theatrical producer) / Fritz Frommer (a young German he had met in jail) / Raymond Lesobre (real estate agent)
Method of murder: Strangulation / Shooting
Location: France
Status: Executed by guillotine in Versailles, outside the prison Saint-Pierre on June 17, 1939. The last person to be publicly executed in France
 
 
 
 
 

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Eugene Weidmann (February 5, 1908–June 17, 1939) was the last person to be publicly executed in France.

Weidmann was born in Frankfurt am Main to the family of an export businessman, and went to school there. He was sent to live with his grandparents at the outbreak of World War I; during this time he started stealing. Later in his twenties he served five years in jail for robbery.

During his time in jail Weidmann met three men who would later become his partners in crime: Roger Million, Blanc and Fritz Frommer. After their release from jail, they decided to work together to kidnap rich tourists visiting France and steal their money. They rented a villa in Saint Cloud, near Paris, for this purpose.

Their first kidnap attempt ended in failure because their victim struggled too hard, forcing them to let him go. Their second attempt of a New York dancer visiting France, Jean de Koven, was more successful, and Weidmann killed and buried her in the villa's garden in July 1937. The group then sent Million's mistress, Collette Tricot, to cash in Koven's traveller's cheques.

On September 1 the same year, Weidmann hired a chauffeur named Joseph Couffy to drive him to the French Riviera where he shot him in the back of the head and stole his car. On October 17, 1937, Million and Weidmann arranged a meeting with a young theatrical producer named Roger LeBlond, promising to invest money in one of his shows. Instead, Weidmann shot him in the back of his head and took his wallet.

Weidmann next shot Raymond Lesobre in the back of the head, a real estate agent who was showing him around a house, and stole his car and wallet. Then on September 3, 1937 with Million he lured Janine Keller, a private nurse who would be his fifth and final victim, into a cave with a job offer. There he killed her and stole her belongings.

The police eventually tracked Weidmann to the villa from a business card left at Lesobre's office and, after a shootout, arrested him. He then confessed to all his murders. Weidmann, Million, Blanc and Tricot were tried in March 1939, with Weidmann and Million receiving the death sentence while Blanc received a jail sentence of 20 months and Tricot was acquitted. Million's sentence was later changed to life imprisonment.

On June 17, 1939, Weidmann was beheaded by the guillotine in Versailles, outside the prison Saint-Pierre. The "hysterical behaviour" by spectators was so scandalous that French President Albert Lebrun immediately banned all future public executions.

 
 

Eugene Weidmann

Murderrevisited.blogspot.com

1937, thousands of visitors flocked to Paris for the great International Exposition. On July 19, 1937, 22-year-old ballet student Jean De Koven, arrived with her aunt Mrs Ida Sackheim and checked into the Hotel des Ambassadeurs. Jean made the acquaintance of a young man known only as Bobby, who spoke with a thick German accent, and they arranged to go on a date a few days later.

As Jean De Koven left the hotel lobby on July 26, 1937, with her new acquaintance it would be the last time her aunt would see her again, alive. When she did not return her aunt went to the police who laughed off her suspicions. They said was probably enjoying a romantic interlude with her lover. Later when her aunt again returned to the police with a ransom demand note for $500 they accused her of participating in a publicity stunt. However, their opinion quickly changed when 15 days later Jean De Kovan's traveler's checks were cashed. The signature on the backs of the checks were proved to be obvious forgeries. Her body would not be found for another four months.

On September 8, 1937, the body of chauffeur, Joseph Couffy was found on France's Paris-Orleans Road. He had been shot in the back of the neck and his car was missing.

On October 17, 1937, the naked body of theatrical producer, Roger Le Blond was found in the back seat of his car at Neully-Sur-Seine Cemetery. He too had been shot in the back of his neck and his wallet was missing.

On November 29, 1937, real estate agent, Raymond Lesobre was found sprawled face down on the floor of a villa in St-Cloud. He had been shot in the back of the neck and his wallet was also missing. A business card belonging to Herr Shott.

When the inspectors questioned Shott they were informed that his nephew, Fritz Frommer, had recently gone missing. He was last seen in the company of a young German, named Siegfried Sauerbrey who was renting a villa in St-Cloud.

On December 8, 1937, Inspectors Poignant and Bourguin went to the villa where Sauerbrey was staying. As they approached the villa a young man who introduced himself M. Karrer asked if he could help them and invited them inside. When Inspector Bourguin asked to see his papers he calmly reached into his pocket and pulled out a gun. His first shot hit Poignant in the shoulder. Bourguin grabbed his wrist but Karrer kept on firing. Another shot grazed Bourguin's forehead and as he and Bourguin were struggling for control of the gun Poignant saw a small hammer lying on a table and hit Karrer full force on his skull. Karrer dropped to the floor. He was immediately hand-cuffed and taken into custody.

Police searched the villa and found the body of Fritz Frommer in the cellar. He had been shot in the back of the neck. As they searched the grounds they noticed the front steps had recently been replaced. When police dug under the steps they found the body of Jean De Koven.

During his interrogation, Karrer coolly confessed to police that his real name was Eugen Weidmann. He also confessed to the murders of Jean De Koven, who he strangled while she was drinking tea, and Fritz Frommer, who he was afraid was going to talk to the police, Joseph Couffy, Roger Le Blond, and Raymond Lesobre. His motive was robbery.

Weidmann was a career criminal who, while incarcerated for robbery, met Fritz Frommer, Roger Million, and Jean Blanc. When they were released from prison they met up together and decided to establish a criminal partnership. Their plan was to kidnap wealthy tourists and steal their money. Their first attempt failed when the man they targeted became suspicious and put up a fierce struggle. They were forced to let him go. They were successful with their second attempt which was unfortunate for Jean De Koven. Weidmann was also confronted with a passport belonging to Jeannine Keller which had been found in his bedroom. He stated that she had been lured to Paris with a job offer for a private nurse. Weidmann took her for a walk in the woods near Fontainebleu, strangled her, hid her body in a cave, and stole her belongings.

He went on trial with his accomplices in March of 1939 but was the only one who received the sentence of death.

On June 17, 1939 Eugen Weidmann became the last person to be publicly executed in France.

The crowd began gathering the night before at the Pallais de Justice at Versailles. There were hundreds of drunk, rowdy spectators who had gathered to witness the macabe event. By 4:00 am the unruly crowds had swelled with people vying to find an idea spot in order to witness the beheading. Surrounding building owners were charging exhorbitant fees for spectators to get a bird's eye view. Because the excution had taken place later then usual there was enough light for photograpers to snap away and even record films of the event. After Weidmann had been beheaded there were reported stories of women who had broken through the police barriers to dip their handkercheifs in his blood. Authorities were so appalled at the scandalous behavior of the crowds and the illegal photographs and filming, that a week later they decreed that all further executions would be held in private.

 
 

Eugen Weidmann (February 5, 1908 – June 17, 1939) was the last person to be publicly executed in France. Executions by guillotine in France continued in private until September 10, 1977, when Hamida Djandoubi was the last person to be executed.

Weidmann was born in Frankfurt am Main in Germany to the family of an export businessman, and went to school there. He was sent to live with his grandparents at the outbreak of World War I; during this time he started stealing. Later in his 20s he served five years in Saarbrücken jail for robbery.

During his time in jail Weidmann met two men who would later become his partners in crime: Roger Million and Jean Blanc. After their release from jail, they decided to work together to kidnap rich tourists visiting France and steal their money. They rented a villa in Saint-Cloud, near Paris, for this purpose.

Their first kidnap attempt ended in failure because their victim struggled too hard, forcing them to let him go. In July 1937, they made a second attempt, Weidmann having made the acquaintance of Jean De Koven, a 22-year-old New York dancer visiting her aunt Ida Sackheim in Paris.

Impressed by the tall, handsome German, De Koven wrote to a friend: "I have just met a charming German of keen intelligence who calls himself Siegfried. Perhaps I am going to another Wagnerian role - who knows? I am going to visit him tomorrow at his villa in a beautiful place near a famous mansion that Napoleon gave Josephine."

During their meeting they smoked and "Siegfried" gave her a glass of milk. She took photos of him with her new camera (later found beside her body, the developed snapshots showing her killer). Weidmann then strangled and buried her in the villa's garden.

The group then sent Million's mistress, Collette Tricot, to cash de Koven's $430 in traveller's cheque and 300 francs in cash. Sackheim received a letter demanding $500 for the return of her niece. De Koven's brother Henry later came to France offering a 10,000 franc reward from his father Abraham for information about the young woman. However, by that time she was dead.

On September 1 of the same year, Weidmann hired a chauffeur named Joseph Couffy to drive him to the French Riviera where, in a forest outside Tours he shot him in the nape of the neck and stole his car and 2500 francs.

The next murder came on September 3, after Weidmann and Million lured Janine Keller, a private nurse, into a cave in the forest of Fontainebleau with a job offer. There he killed her, again with a bullet to the nape of the neck, before robbing her of 1400 francs and her diamond ring.

On October 16, Million and Weidmann arranged a meeting with a young theatrical producer named Roger LeBlond, promising to invest money in one of his shows. Instead, Weidmann shot him in the back of his head and took his wallet containing 5000 francs.

On November 22, Weidmann murdered and robbed Fritz Frommer, a young German he had met in jail. Frommer, a Jew, had been held there for his anti-Nazi views. Once again the victim was shot in the nape of the neck. His body was buried in the basement of the Saint-Cloud house where De Koven was interred.

Five days later Weidmann committed his final murder. Raymond Lesobre, a real estate agent, was shot in the killer's preferred fashion while showing him around a house in Saint-Cloud. Five-thousand francs were taken from him.

Officers from the Sûreté, led by a young inspector named Primborgne, eventually tracked Weidmann to the villa from a business card left at Lesobre's office. Arriving at his home, Weidmann found two officers waiting for him. Inviting them in, he then turned and fired three times at them with a pistol. Although they were unarmed, the wounded Sûreté men managed to wrestle Weidmann down, knocking him unconscious with a hammer that happened to be nearby.

Weidmann was a highly co-operative prisoner, confessing to all his murders, including that of de Koven, the only one for which he expressed regret. He is reported to have said tearfully: "She was gentle and unsuspecting ... When I reached for her throat, she went down like a doll."

The murder trial of Weidmann, Million, Blanc and Tricot in Versailles in March 1939 was the biggest since that of Henri Désiré Landru, the modern-day "Bluebeard", 18 years earlier. One of Weidmann's lawyers, Vincent de Moro-Giafferi, had indeed defended Landru. Also present was the French novelist Colette, who was engaged by Paris-Soir to write an essay on Weidmann.

Weidmann and Million received the death sentence while Blanc received a jail sentence of 20 months and Tricot was acquitted. Million's sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment.

On June 17, 1939, Weidmann was beheaded outside the prison Saint-Pierre in Versailles. The "hysterical behaviour" by spectators was so scandalous that French president Albert Lebrun immediately banned all future public executions. Unknown to authorities, film of the execution was shot from a private apartment adjacent to the prison. British actor Christopher Lee, who was 17 at the time, witnessed this event.

Wikipedia.org

 
 

SEX: M RACE: W TYPE: N MOTIVE: CE

MO: German immigrant; killed victims in robberies and ransom kidnappings

DISPOSITION: Guillotined May 18, 1939.

 

 

 
 
 
 
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