1937, thousands of visitors flocked to Paris for the great International Exposition. On July 19, 1937, 22-year-old ballet student Jean De Koven, arrived with her aunt Mrs Ida Sackheim and checked into the Hotel des Ambassadeurs. Jean made the acquaintance of a young man known only as Bobby, who spoke with a thick German accent, and they arranged to go on a date a few days later. As Jean De Koven left the hotel lobby on July 26, 1937, with her new acquaintance it would be the last time her aunt would see her again, alive. When she did not return her aunt went to the police who laughed off her suspicions. They said was probably enjoying a romantic interlude with her lover. Later when her aunt again returned to the police with a ransom demand note for $500 they accused her of participating in a publicity stunt. However, their opinion quickly changed when 15 days later Jean De Kovan's traveler's checks were cashed. The signature on the backs of the checks were proved to be obvious forgeries. Her body would not be found for another four months.
On September 8, 1937, the body of chauffeur, Joseph Couffy was found on France's Paris-Orleans Road. He had been shot in the back of the neck and his car was missing.
On October 17, 1937, the naked body of theatrical producer, Roger Le Blond was found in the back seat of his car at Neully-Sur-Seine Cemetery. He too had been shot in the back of his neck and his wallet was missing.
On November 29, 1937, real estate agent, Raymond Lesobre was found sprawled face down on the floor of a villa in St-Cloud. He had been shot in the back of the neck and his wallet was also missing. A business card belonging to Herr Shott.
When the inspectors questioned Shott they were informed that his nephew, Fritz Frommer, had recently gone missing. He was last seen in the company of a young German, named Siegfried Sauerbrey who was renting a villa in St-Cloud.
On December 8, 1937, Inspectors Poignant and Bourguin went to the villa where Sauerbrey was staying. As they approached the villa a young man who introduced himself M. Karrer asked if he could help them and invited them inside. When Inspector Bourguin asked to see his papers he calmly reached into his pocket and pulled out a gun. His first shot hit Poignant in the shoulder. Bourguin grabbed his wrist but Karrer kept on firing. Another shot grazed Bourguin's forehead and as he and Bourguin were struggling for control of the gun Poignant saw a small hammer lying on a table and hit Karrer full force on his skull. Karrer dropped to the floor. He was immediately hand-cuffed and taken into custody.
Police searched the villa and found the body of Fritz Frommer in the cellar. He had been shot in the back of the neck. As they searched the grounds they noticed the front steps had recently been replaced. When police dug under the steps they found the body of Jean De Koven.
During his interrogation, Karrer coolly confessed to police that his real name was Eugen Weidmann. He also confessed to the murders of Jean De Koven, who he strangled while she was drinking tea, and Fritz Frommer, who he was afraid was going to talk to the police, Joseph Couffy, Roger Le Blond, and Raymond Lesobre. His motive was robbery.
Weidmann was a career criminal who, while incarcerated for robbery, met Fritz Frommer, Roger Million, and Jean Blanc. When they were released from prison they met up together and decided to establish a criminal partnership. Their plan was to kidnap wealthy tourists and steal their money. Their first attempt failed when the man they targeted became suspicious and put up a fierce struggle. They were forced to let him go. They were successful with their second attempt which was unfortunate for Jean De Koven. Weidmann was also confronted with a passport belonging to Jeannine Keller which had been found in his bedroom. He stated that she had been lured to Paris with a job offer for a private nurse. Weidmann took her for a walk in the woods near Fontainebleu, strangled her, hid her body in a cave, and stole her belongings.
He went on trial with his accomplices in March of 1939 but was the only one who received the sentence of death.
On June 17, 1939 Eugen Weidmann became the last person to be publicly executed in France.
The crowd began gathering the night before at the Pallais de Justice at Versailles. There were hundreds of drunk, rowdy spectators who had gathered to witness the macabe event. By 4:00 am the unruly crowds had swelled with people vying to find an idea spot in order to witness the beheading. Surrounding building owners were charging exhorbitant fees for spectators to get a bird's eye view. Because the excution had taken place later then usual there was enough light for photograpers to snap away and even record films of the event. After Weidmann had been beheaded there were reported stories of women who had broken through the police barriers to dip their handkercheifs in his blood. Authorities were so appalled at the scandalous behavior of the crowds and the illegal photographs and filming, that a week later they decreed that all further executions would be held in private.