Was David Hans Schmidt a victim of autoerotic asphyxiation? And more on his wicked, wicked ways. (WITH UPDATE.)
Passed polishing the bishop? So speculates one former pal.
(UPDATE: Since this was written, David Boyer, Director of the County Medical Examiner's Office has announced the cause of death in the Schmidt case to be hanging. The manner, suicide. No surprise there. Further details are pending.)
Did David Hans Schmidt pull a Michael Hutchence? You know, the lead singer of INXS who supposedly offed himself via autoerotic asphyxiation; i.e. strangling himself while masturbating? That's the startling speculation of a woman who was a close confidant of Schmidt for many years, a woman who once had access to the townhouse/condo where the PHX PD says he died of an apparent suicide Friday, and who occasionally helped Schmidt close deals involving the likes of Paula Jones while he was in the slammer during any of his many stays.
"As soon as I read that they found him in the shower and that he'd hung himself, that was my first thought," said the 40-something female, who did not wish to be identified. "I know that bathroom. I know exactly the height of it. I know his height, and I know how wacked-out David was."
Schmidt's home was full of jars of Vaseline, according to the woman, and a meticulous collection of pornography, Playboys and Penthouses organized by date. She described a man she knew as a sexually perverse narcissist, who openly bragged of his frequent visits to local massage parlors, and who had a preference for the services of black call-girls. He would leave naked photos of girlfriends in awkward sexual positions splayed across his king-sized bed, and he once let drop to her that he liked to "lube himself up" for rides in a massage chair. All of this has lead her to hypothesize that Schmidt's death may have been accidental.
"I just don't see David going through with it," she explained. "He was too in love with himself. He'd be the kind of person who'd slash his wrists, call his friends and say, `OK, I just slashed my wrists in the bathtub, I just wanted to let you know how much I love you, goodbye.' Was there even a note?"
As of the writing of this post, the police have yet to release the details of the suicide, how the body was actually found, or if there was a suicide note, though several reports have repeated the rumors of a bathroom hanging. Celebrity gossip site TMZ.com recently reported that Daily News columnist George Rush of gossip column Rush & Molloy received a call from Schmidt two weeks ago, wherein Schmidt confessed to a suicide attempt in his bathroom with a belt.
Autoerotic asphyxiation, or asphyxiophilia, is the act of depriving oneself of oxygen during masturbation in order to achieve a heightened orgasm. This may involve using a plastic bag over the head, or some type of ligature, such as a belt -- known as "scarfing" or simply "choking."
Of course, perhaps Schmidt just punched his own ticket on purpose. Though Schmidt's female friend dismissed this notion, she admitted to seeing court-ordered psychiatric evaluations of Schmidt in which he's characterized as bipolar. She claimed Schmidt refused medication for the condition, and instead would often "self-medicate" by smoking pot.
Schmidt's confidant's portrait of the celebrity sex-tape peddler and self-defined "Sultan of Sleaze" is of an erratic, boastful sexual cowboy, who openly fantasized about two female neighbors having sex with their pet Newfoundland, and who may have engaged in dalliances with men during prison stays. She detailed a letter she found once from a supposed lover of Schmidt while he was in the pen.
"It while he was in DOC (Department of Corrections) and he had called me and asked me to do something for him," recalls Schmidt's pal. "When I went to his place, it was sitting right there on his desk, this letter hand-written in pencil from one of his `close friends,' reminiscing about their early morning jogs, and holding hands at sunset. Their quiet time. I couldn't read any more, it was so gross."
Though she regarded him as "a real piece of work," she admits that he could be generous and entertaining. She essentially worked as his unpaid assistant for many years, keeping his books, picking up his vehicle after he'd been busted for one of his many outstanding warrants. However, she broke off all ties to him after Schmidt once threatened to discipline her son, and had not spoken to him for several years when she heard news of his death. That may explain why she wasn't saddened by Schmidt's demise, and even joked about it during the interview.
"Yeah," she said. "Instead of choking the chicken, David choked himself."
Could she be right? We won't know until either the cops or the coroner provide more info. I do know for certain that this person knew Schmidt well and had the sort of access she has described. At this point, in regards to the late DHS, nothing would surprise.
For more on DHS's apparent suicide, read: David Hans Schmidt death by hanging? And why Phoenix mag finally published David Leibowitz's DHS story.