Albert Schmidt was last person to hang by the neck until dead in Wagga.
The sordid story was revisited this week as part of the The Daily Advertiser’s Wagga Rewind series, which has explored the dark history behind the executions that took place within the walls of the former jail.
Despite pleading “not guilty”, Schmidt was hanged in 1890 for the murder of John Young Taylor.
According to the archives, the two miners had been visiting Taylor’s long-time friend near Wagga.
While witnesses reported the pair on friendly terms, somewhere along their travels, Schmidt was moved to hit Taylor on the head with a tomahawk, before bleeding him and attempting to hide the evidence.
The miners had met with Mr King at his Cunningdroo home – on the Tarcutta Road – in early April, staying there for a few days before rolling on to Wagga.
On April 7, they arrived at Kerr's Railway Hotel, with a wagon, cart and horses in tow and proceeded to hotel-hop between Alfredtown and Lake Albert. Taylor reportedly told a hotelier he planned to visit Mr King again, before returning to town.
The pair were last seen on their way to Cunningdroo, with Taylor driving the wagon and Schmidt as a passenger. The cart was later spotted driven by Schmidt, without the old man.
Alerted to “suspicious circumstances”, Wagga police were sent to investigate.
Without a valid explanation for the bloodstains in the wagon, on his shoes and on the small axe in the back, a mounted officer arrested Schmidt and took him back to Wagga, where the prisoner made an unsuccessful attempt to take his own life.
It was found Schmidt had struck Taylor in the head, following an argument, where the old man had whipped him.
Assuming Taylor to be dead, the Schmidt threw the unconscious man in the back of the Wagon and later slit his throat, which caused him to bleed out.
Along the road to Old Junee Schmidt severed and buried Taylor’s head and body, burned the dead man’s clothes and tried to scrub the wagon with gravel.
Schmidt walked ‘boldy’ to the gallows in November that year and was hanged for this ‘atrocious, cold-blooded’ crime. Although unproven, he was also accused of killing Jacob Rick, another miner, who was last seen with Schmidt near Albury.