Gerard John Shaefer Jr., was born into an eventually troubled family on March 25, 1946 in Wisconsin, however he lived most of his early life in Georgia. He was the oldest of three children and was born to a week willed mother and an extremely abusive and adulterous father. At the age of fourteen he, and his family, moved to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. He graduated high school in 1964 from St. Aquinas High School after which he attended Broward Community College. He had a brief, two year marriage with Martha Fogg. They divorced in 1970, Martha accusing him of being extremely cruel. He applied for the priesthood and was turned away for not having enough faith. He attempted to teach and was fired ...view middle of the document...
He talked about selling them as white slaves. He told them that no one would miss them when they were gone. He was cruel. He was called away to work. While he was gone, they were able to get loose and they escaped. He made the mistake of giving his true identity; they took this information to the police. When he discovered his mistake he called his boss, and told him about the “lesson” he was trying to teach them. He was immediately fired and charged.
The official charge was false imprisonment and two counts of aggravated assault. He was released on $15,000 bond. In December of 1972 he pleaded guilty to one count of aggravated assault and was sentenced to one year in county jail. While in jail, two bodies were found. They were Georgia Jessup and Susan Place; their bodies pointed to Schaefer.
Police were able to obtain a warrant to search the home that Schaefer had shared with his mother. The grounds for the warrant included the time at which these murders took place and the uncanny similarities between these two murders and the incident which Schaefer plead guilty to. Police found souvenirs’ of these two murders at Schaefer’s mother’s house.
Gerard Schaefer was charged with two counts of murder. He pleaded not guilty and in October 1973 was convicted and sentenced to two life terms, to be served consecutively in Florida State Prison. At the time the death penalty was not practiced in the State of Florida, otherwise Prosecutor Robert Stone would have requested the death penalty.
Robert Stone prosecuted with extreme prejudice, holding nothing back to ensure that this man would be behind bars for the rest of his life. He played everything by the book in order to ensure the jury could find no verdict other than that of not guilty. He did everything he could to ensure that the verdict would stick in the appellate courts as well.
The defense attorney, Elton Schwarz, maintained that Gerard Schaefer was innocent and was being framed. Little circumstantial evidence was brought into court to provide any proof, all of which was circumstantial. Schaefer claimed that he was not represented properly and that Schwarz, who later married Schaefer’s ex-wife, had ulterior motives for wanting him in jail.
I agree with the jury’s verdict of guilty on both counts. I also feel that if the penalty were in effect at the time he should have received the death penalty. He was lucky to have escaped the death penalty; he was convicted during the country’s seven year stint of no death penalties after the Furman v. Georgia decision, outlawing the death penalty that was being used at the time.
After his conviction, slowly authorities throughout south Florida started finding similar murder scenes, old enough that Schaefer could have committed the murders. The scenarios of these murders fit a pattern that Schaefer established with both of the cases he had been convicted on. While police were searching his mother’s home they also found many belongings of other missing...