Monday, May 21, 2001

Hyde Park slaying puzzles neighbors

Couple wanted to improve home

By Tom O'Neill
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        For the five years Randy Davis and Andy Schmidt lived in Hyde Park, they spoke of grand landscaping plans that never materialized.

        Two weeks ago, they had friends over for a barbecue.

        Neighbors on Sunday described the longtime gay couple as having kept to themselves, but everything seemed normal.

        Something wasn't.

        On Saturday, police said, Mr. Davis told a 911 dispatcher he beat his companion of 20 years to death with a 2-by-4 two days earlier because “he just drove me out of my mind, literally.”

        He is being held in Hamilton County Justice Center on one count of murder and is to be arraigned this morning.On his arrest report, he listed his employer as the Omni Hotel.

        It was the first slaying in Hyde Park in seven years, to the month.

        On Sunday, yellow police tape crisscrossed the front door of the house in the 1300 block of Edwards Road where the living room ceiling fan spun and wind chimes swung in the warm afternoon breeze.

        In recounting the slaying of 57-year-old Kenneth “Andy” Schmidt, police said Mr. Davis, 46, told the dispatcher in a calm tone, “I can't believe it myself.”

        Neither could neighbors.

        “They were always on the verge of big landscaping,” next-door neighbor Jana Cunningham, 47, said Sunday. “They'd tell me about it, wanted to show me the plans, but they never did it.

        “They were never a problem,” she said. “Something obviously went terribly wrong over there.”

        She noted that “people walking by have been stopping all day, just staring.”

        The house is among upper-middle-class homes, a few blocks from Hyde Park Square. One woman who didn't want to give her name simply said, “It's creepy.”

        “Some of my neighbors are big porch-sitters,” said Gary Wollenweber, 49, who lives three doors down. “But they weren't. ...”

        He shook his head, adding, “Who knows what happened?”


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