Born in Tucson in 1942, Schmid was the pampered only child of parents who ran a local rest home, indulging their son's every whim on the side. A pathological braggart and liar, he wore cowboy boots stuffed with paper and crushed beer cans to increase his small stature, explaining the resultant limp as an injury sustained while fighting members of the Mafia. On graduation from high school, Schmid began dyeing his hair jet black, applied layers of cosmetics, and designed a phony mole to make his face "look meaner." In spite of his bizarre appearance, he became a hero to a quasi-cult of disaffected local youth, with various teenage girls competing for his affection. Boozing it up with friends Mary French and John Saunders on the night of May 31, 1964, Schmid suddenly announced, "I want to kill a girl tonight. I think I can get away with it." His chosen victim was 15-year-old Alleen Rowe, lured from home to a stretch of desert near the local golf course, where Schmid raped her, beat her to death with a stone, and planted her corpse in a shallow grave. Over the next year, Schmid became romantically involved with Gretchen Fritz, a possessive 17-year-old whose clinging ways eventually grated on Schmid's nerves. On the night of August 11, 1965, Schmid strangled Gretchen and her sister, 13-year-old Wendy Fritz, at his home, afterward dumping their bodies in the desert. Unable to contain himself, he boasted of the crime to friend Richard Bruns, driving Bruns out to look at the bodies, enlisting his help for a hasty burial. The murders were an open secret, shared by scores of Tucson teens, but no one notified police or parents. Schmid was questioned by a pair of hoodlum types, allegedly employed to find the missing sisters, but he claimed that they had run away to California. Backing up his story, Schmid drove to San Diego, where he was arrested for impersonating an FBI agent, "questioning" girls at the beach. Back home in Tucson, Schmid was married in September, proposing to his 15-year-old bride after a blind date, but his facade was cracking, his behavior growing even more erratic. Richard Bruns believed his own girlfriend might be Schmid's next target, and he finally phoned the police on November 11, leading to Schmid's arrest. Exposure of the crimes stunned Tucson, with revelations of teenage drinking, drug abuse and sex, plus dabbling in the occult . Dubbed the "Pied Piper of Tucson," Schmid was sentenced to die for killing the Fritz sisters; a guilty plea to second-degree murder in the case of Alleen Rowe earned him a sentence of 50 years to life. The death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment six years later, when the US Supreme Court declared capital punishment unconstitutional. On November 11, 1972, Schmid escaped from prison in the company of triple-murderer Raymond Hudgens. The fugitives held four hostages at a ranch near Tempe, then split up, and both were recaptured within days. On March 20, 1975, Schmid was stabbed 20 times in a prison brawl, and he died from his wounds ten days later.