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Amish Murder

Here are some of the questions that Jim is most frequently asked regarding Ed Gingerich, the only Amish man ever convicted of murder, and his crime. If you have questions that are not answered here or in Jim's book Crimson Stain feel free to ask Jim using the contact information at the bottom of this page. Jim will try his best to answer as many questions as possible. Check back to see if your question has been added to this page.

  1. Was Ed Gingerich really mentally ill when he killed his wife Katie
    Yes. He had been diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic who saw and heard things that didn't exist. When he killed his wife he had not been taking his anti-psychotic medicine. There are two million paranoid schizophrenics in America, half of whom have quit taking their pills. Ten percent of these people are violent and dangerous and one percent commit homicide. About a thousand people a year are killed by paranoid schizophrenics. Ed wasn't faking.
  2. Why do so many paranoid schizophrenics quit taking their medicine?
    Anti-psychotic drugs produce side effects that make patients miserable. Moreover, the paranoid nature of the disease causes patients to believe that people are using the medicine to poison them.
  3. Why did Ed kill his wife and not his children, or the Bishop, or anyone else?
    Ed had allowed himself to be pressured into marriage which had destroyed his plans to leave the Amish world. Stuck in a culture he couldn't abide, he developed an intense hatred for Katie, the person he blamed for his profound unhappiness. Frustration, depression, and a propensity for violence, coupled with a serious psychotic disease and a sociopathic personality conspired to produce this first of a kind murder of an innocent Amish woman.
  4. Where are Ed's three children?
    They are being raised by Ed's parents in the Brownhill settlement.
  5. Where is Ed now?
    Since prison he has been living in upper Michigan with the Evart Amish where he works in a machine shop owned by the Amish in that small enclave.
  6. Does he ever see his children?
    Rarely. He is still not welcome in the Brownhill community. The people there are still afraid of him. They had hoped that after killing his wife the criminal justice system would have sent him to a mental facility for an extended period rather than to prison for four years. He had been out of prison since 1998.
  7. Will Ed Gingerich ever be cured?
    Probably not. Most sufferers of this mental disease have to stay on their anti-psychotic medicine for life. This is especially important when the patient has a violent personality.
  8. Where is Emma Shetler, the murdered woman's mother?
    After he daughter was killed, Emma sold the family farm in Brownhill and moved to the Jamestown area in New York. Emma's husband Levi had died shortly after the homicide.
  9. Has Ed Gingerich read Crimson Stain?
    According to his handler in Michigan, he had read parts of it. Ed says he doesn't remember the homicide or the events leading up to it or after. He has read the first and last parts of the book and says that the book is filled with distortions and lies. Emma Shetler has read the book, and except for a few details, believes it is an accurate account of the tragic story.
  10. Could Ed Gingerich become violent again?
    Ed should always be considered potentially dangerous, particularly if he quits taking his medicine, and particularly towards women.

This page was last updated on: Friday, January 11, 2008

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A. James Fisher
Dept. of Political Science & Criminal Justice, 146 Hendricks Hall
Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, Edinboro, PA 16444
e-mail: jfisher@edinboro.edu blog: http://jimfishertruecrime.blogspot.com