The Amish Country Killing


Edward Gingerich killed his wife Katie, on March 18, 1993. It was a cold gray Tuesday at dusk preceded by several days of snow.

The 28-year-old Amish man attacked his spouse, Katie, in front of two of their children who witnessed the scene in stunned amazement and horror. In the kitchen of their western Pennsylvania farmhouse, he knocked her down to the ground, crushed her skull by stomping on her face, ripped off her clothes, and then opened up her stomach with a kitchen knife. After he open up her stomach, he relentlessly removed her heart, spleen, lungs, liver, ovaries, and intestines through the seven inch gash from the knife, stacking them one by one in a neat pile next to her dead body. Within an hour, volunteer ambulance personnel from a nearby village stared at the bloody body without organs nude on the kitchen floor and at the knife plunged into the dripping mounds of organs.

Edward Gingerich a tall, pale skinned, lumber mill operator was arrested by the Pennsylvania state Police at a dirt road intersection near his farmhouse. When arrested by the police officers he was covered in blood, was wide-eyed and virtually incoherent. The Amish man continued to mumble biblical passages and made vague remarks to and about the devil.

The killing of his wife amazed Gingerich’s non-Amish neighbors. The told reporters and police investigators that he did indeed suffer from a mental illness, but had never exhibited any tendencies or reaction toward violence.

For the first time in American history, an Amish man stood accused of homicide, raising a host of bewildering questioning. What had driven this quiet, easy going man to commit such a crime so ghastly as to defy description? Questions were raised very easily and very fast. Who was Edward Gingerich? What was or what is he? How would his family, the Amish community and Pennsylvania’s criminal justice system deal with this unique and definitely disturbing case? In the end, Edward Gingerich was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to imprisonment at the State Correctional Institution in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for only a minimum of two and a half years to a maximum of five years. I do not understand this sentence.
I have Amish relatives from Pennsylvania. When I spoke with my Uncle, the thoughts still haunt the Amish community to this day. Edward Gingerich, his name is not spoken of easily. Knowing what he put his wife through, his kids through, and definitely the Amish community.

As a forensic nurse it would most likely be psychologically devastating. Children were involved. Was he on some type of medication or illegal drugs? Was an urinalysis or blood sample taken? Does he have a history of psychological problems? Did he have any marks on him, from a struggle from his wife? What were the kids doing? What type of knife did he use? Did it match the type of cutting wounds that were on his wife? Did he cut her anywhere else? What exactly happened to make him do this? A forensic nurse needs to find the answers to these questions. Maybe nobody really identified these issues, and that’s why he only got a short term. Did anyone do any of these things listed? What was actually presented in front of the judge, to make him only get a short time?


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