John Schmidt was born in 1855 in Horweiler, Germany. He immigrated to the United States in the last years of the 19th century. He took advantage of this and changed his surname, and became known as Johann Otto Hoch after the murder of one of his first victims. He then went on to marry several different women. Without benefit of a divorce from his previous bride (unless he had poisoned them) he would marry a new woman, swindle her out of money, and if she were lucky he would just leave instead of killing them with a dose of arsenic. Then he would start the process all over again.
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