The Vengeful Heart
As their affair turned increasingly rocky, Trahan was not without her means of retaliation. Under oath, she admitted to affairs with six other men during her ten years with Schmidt.
Every time he wouldnt leave his wife, youd start dating someone, a defense lawyer later observed to Trahan. That got his attention, right?
Yes it did, she snapped back.
Trahan said the liaisons reflected her deepening desperation to break away from the doctor. However, their most certain consequence was to provoke him.
Barry Bleichner, a Lafayette bachelor, met Trahan at a New Years Eve party, and began dating her in early 1994. According to his later testimony, Bleichner invited Janice to a crawfish boil that spring. She accepted, then broke, the date, he said, explaining that Schmidt had grown furious when he learned theyd been seeing one another.
About a week later, Schmidt telephoned Bleichner. The doctor said he knew hed been seeing Trahan, and recounted certain intimate details of the relationship, some of which were incorrect. Schmidt seemed to alternate between anger and calm during this conversation, Bleichner recalled. Before hanging up, the doctor also mentioned ominously that he knew where Bleichner lived.
A short while later, Schmidt telephoned once more, this time to apologize, and to ask that Barry not mention their conversation to Janice. It hardly mattered; Bleichner and Trahan no longer were seeing one another.
Dr. Schmidt was not finished, however. Bleichner was working in his front yard about a week later when Schmidt drove up and asked him for the return of some photos Janice had given Bleichner of herself. Bleichner replied that hed be glad to return the pictures to Trahan, but not to Schmidt.
The doctor asked Bleichner if hed like to fight, and told the younger man to take off his sunglasses. He wanted to look me in the eye, Bleichner remembered.
Bleichner did not take Schmidt seriously.
Richard, youre crazy, he said.
Yes, I was trained that way, replied the Marine veteran. If you see Janice again, I am going to kill you.