Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Murder of Mindy Schloss

A Need to Tell Tales


Wade was not a discreet prisoner, though in a certain light he was a model one. While incarcerated, Wade kept a jail diary, a seemingly innocuous blue Mead notebook. In the days following his arrest for Schloss' murder Wade chronicled the murder, from the perspective of his victim. He's no Tolstoy, but it's bracing how he tried to inhabit Mindy Schloss' frame of mind as he relived the crime.

Della Brown
Della Brown
"I am being ripped from my bed," Wade wrote, "and tossed to the ground. Arms stretched behind my back and legs pulled up behind me so oddly angled I thought they'd snap and then the burning pain from the zip ties being put on way too tight."

Literary criticism is often an overwrought enterprise, but a "close read" of this passage is particularly eye opening. Wade imagines Schloss' comprehension of his abuse. Wade intended to affix the restraints too tightly, to contort her body so that she felt unbearable pain. This physical abuse wasn't due to an amateur robber too amped up on adrenaline to control himself. Quite the opposite: it was a calculated bit of torture, and Wade enjoyed pretending to be inside Schloss' mind as she registered the torment.

This wasn't the first time that Wade had felt compelled to disclose the details of his crimes.

Shed where Brown's body was found
Shed where Brown's body was found
During Wade's 2003 trial for the murder of Della Brown, it was revealed that Wade had taken several of his friends to see Della Brown's body, which he had left to rot in a ramshackle storage shed in Spenard, Alaska. Wade left her there after raping and beating her to death. While at the shed Wade regaled his friends with details of Brown's murder, details that would later be revealed during the final stages of the Mindy Schloss murder trial.

Wade's boasts were used as ammunition for his defense. Why, his lawyers argued, would a murderer take his friends to the scene of his crime? Only an innocent person, they argued, could so stupidly brag about killing someone. Wade's legal team argued that he was bragging to elevate his status in the group.

Wade was sentenced for the lesser crime of evidence tampering. Six months after he was released from prison, Mindy Schloss was dead.

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