Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Gary Krist: The Einstein of Crime

Trials and Punishment

Ruth Eismann Schier
Ruth Eismann Schier

Ruth Eisemann gained the distinction of becoming the first woman ever on the FBI's 10 Most Wanted list.

But her stay there was brief.

Seventy-nine days after the kidnapping, the financially destitute woman was arrested after applying for a job as a carhop in Norman, Okla. She was hauled back to Georgia for trial.

The jury did not buy her excuse that she was blindly in love with the charismatic Krist. She was convicted and sentenced to seven years. She was paroled after four and promptly deported to her native Honduras. She remains persona non grata in the U.S.

Krist, meanwhile, seemed bored by the trialperhaps because his conviction was a foregone conclusion.

He had sought an insanity ruling, but the gambit failedeven after delivering one memorably egocentric statement after another to a court-appointed shrink.

He said, for example, "I am a superior human being."

The prosecutor, Richard Bell, judged him a superior thug, and he aggressively sought the death penalty, allowed under Georgia law in kidnapping-for-ransom cases.

During a break one day, Krist told reporters he expected to get "the electric chair or whatever means these barbarian humans use these days, I suppose."

The jury convicted him, and a majority voted for execution. But four jurors held out for a life sentence, so the panel was forced to recommend mercy.

Many believe Krist escaped death only because Barbara Mackle expressed appreciation during her testimony that Krist had spared her life by phoning the FBI after the ransom recovery.

Judge H.O. Hubert handed down a life sentence.

Krist said nothing. One reporter said he seemed to stifle a yawn and glance at the clock.

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