“Right Place, Wrong Time”: Murder of Edward Kriz 1962

Murder Victim

Edward A. Kriz
43-year-old Owner
George’s Buffet Tavern
Cause of Death: Gunshot
Motive: Elimination of Witness

Murder Scene and Date

Hamburg Inn No. 2
214 North Linn Street
Iowa City, Iowa
Johnson County
November 10, 1962


By Nancy Bowers
Written August 2010

Edward Kriz (from the Iowa City Press-Citizen)

In the early hours of Saturday, November 10, 1962, Edward Kriz and his wife Bernice closed up George’s Buffet Tavern at 312 E. Market Street in Iowa City and invited an employee to go for coffee and a sandwich as was their routine.

George’s Buffett Tavern in Iowa City, owned in 1962 by Edward Kriz and his wife Bernice.

The three walked half-a-block from the tavern to the popular Hamburg Inn No. 2 at 214 North Linn Street. About 1:45, they left the restaurant through the rear door to use the alley to walk back to George’s, where they lived above the tavern.

Just then, a would-be robber headed inside — a young man wearing a dark-colored jacket and trousers and a Halloween mask over his face. Without provocation, the young man opened fire, shots which Bernice Kriz first thought were firecrackers.

While Edward Kriz wrestled with the man, he was struck in the arm, chest, and foot with .45 caliber bullets. He was rushed to a hospital, where he died about 2:00 a.m. without regaining consciousness.

Several witnesses heard the shots and saw the fleeing suspect. A University of Iowa Coed walking nearby  reported that a man — dark-haired, 5-feet 6-inches, 150 pounds — ran across a yard near the restaurant and jumped into a small foreign car and sped away.

An Iowa City Police Officer told Cedar Rapids Gazette reporter Phyllis Fleming :

“Ed was just in the right place at the wrong time. It could have been anyone coming out that door.”

☛ Investigation and Grand Jury ☚

Iowa City Police requested the Iowa Bureau of Criminal Investigation assist in the investigation.

Highway Patrolman William Kidwell and Detective Sgt. Paul C. Hoffey inspect the Kriz crime scene (from the Cedar Rapids Gazette).

Acting on a tip, authorities arrested 18-year-old construction worker Robert Joseph Schneider for both the murder of Edward Kriz and for the October 6, 1962 armed robbery of Shannon’s Supper Club in North Liberty.

At the time, Schneider, the son of Johnson County farmers Marcella and Francis Schneider, was on probation after being sentenced to 10 years for robbing a Coralville service station in 1961.

Iowa City Police Lt. Charles H. Snider told the Cedar Rapids Gazette:

“I think we’ve got a desperate kid on our hands.”

Schneider, a 1962 Cosgrove High School graduate, entered an “innocent” plea on both counts and was held on an open charge of murder without bond.

On December 14, a Johnson County grand jury indicted Schneider for both Edward Kriz’s murder and the North Liberty robbery.

Key grand jury testimony on the murder charge involved a missing top button from Schneider’s coat that matched a button found in a pool of blood seven inches from where Kriz fell wounded.

☛ Schneider Goes on Trial for Robbery ☚

Joseph Schneider (from the Cedar Rapids Gazette).

On January 21, 1963, Schneider’s trial for robbing the North Liberty supper club began. Johnson County Attorney Ralph Neuzil said Schneider needed money to pay a $70 car repair bill and had a $300 debt with a finance company for a car-boat deal.

Neuzil alleged Schneider entered the supper club wearing a silk stocking over his head and face, gave a note to the bartender, fired a shot into the ceiling, and fled with $700.

Supper club employees testified Schneider matched the physical description of the robber but could not positively identify him.

The robbery took place at 12:15 a.m. and Schneider’s landlords at 228 Brown Street in Iowa City said he borrowed their car and returned it no later than midnight the night of the robbery.

Schneider admitted writing the note given to the supper club bartender during the robbery but claimed he wrote it for his co-worker Glen Evans, a witness for the prosecution who testified Schneider bought a .45 caliber pistol from him — the type used to murder Edward Kriz.

The defense insisted Schneider wrote the note for Evans to use in the robbery and never bought a gun from him.

Robert Schneider was found innocent on the robbery charge. Afterwards, Assistant County Attorney Edward O’Connor said the defense was:

“The most trumped-up . . . I’ve ever heard in my 42 years of the practice of law.”

☛ Murder Charges Dropped ☚

Joseph Schneider

On February 14, 1963, County Attorney Ralph Neuzil filed a motion to dismiss the grand jury indictment for murder against Robert Schneider because the evidence did not show him guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Judge James Ganney sustained the motion.

Two days before his 19th birthday, on Friday, February 15, 1963, Robert Schneider walked out of the Johnson County Jail — where he’d been held since early November 1962 — a free man.

No one else was ever charged with the murder of Edward Kriz.

Both George’s and the Hamburg Inn No. 2 are still in operation.

☛Edward J. Kriz’s Life ☚

photo by Rick K.

photo by Rick K.

Edward J. Kriz was born March 18, 1919 in Coralville, Iowa, to Czech immigrants Mary E. Chambers and Fred James Kriz. He had two older siblings, Frederick John Kriz and Helen C. Kriz, and graduated from University High School in Iowa City. On February 10, 1941, he enlisted in the U.S. Army Medical Branch.

On December 3, 1946, he married Bernice R. Tesar and they had two sons, Steven and Tom Kriz.

Edward and Bernice Kriz operated George’s Buffet Tavern in Iowa City. He was Commander of the Coralville American Legion Post, as well as a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Eagles Lodge.

His funeral services were held on November 13, 1962 at Wenceslaus Church, and he was buried in Saint Joseph Cemetery in Iowa City.


Please note: Use of information in this article should credit Nancy Bowers as the author and Iowa Unsolved Murders: Historic Cases as the source.


☛ David Jindrich contributed special research and correspondence to this article. ☚


  • ☛ “Alibi for Schneider Filed at Iowa City,” Cedar Rapids Gazette, January 18, 1963.
  • ☛ “Bernice R. Kriz,” Cedar Rapids Gazette, December 9, 2006.
  • ☛ “Call Additional Jurors For Schneider Trial,” Cedar Rapids Gazette, January 8, 1963.
  • ☛ “Criminal Cases Totaled 120 in Johnson in 1962,” Cedar Rapids Gazette, January 4, 1963.
  • ☛ “Death Meets Iowa Citian On Routine Walk Home,” by Phyllis Fleming, Cedar Rapids Gazette, November 11, 1962.
  • ☛ “Grand Jury Resumes Slaying Case Study,” Cedar Rapids Gazette, November 23, 1962.
  • ☛ “Hunt Killer Of Tavern Operator,” Waterloo Daily Courier, November 11, 1962.
  • ☛ “Iowa City Man Slain By Youth,” Cedar Rapids Gazette, November 10, 1962.
  • ☛ “Innocent Plea By Schneider,” Cedar Rapids Gazette, November 15, 1962.
  • ☛ National Archives and Records Administration. U.S. World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946.
  • ☛ “Not Positive On Schneider Identification,” Cedar Rapids Gazette, January 22, 1963.
  • ☛ “Oxford Youth Is Indicted For Murder,” Cedar Rapids Gazette, December 14, 1962.
  • Saturday marks 50 years since unsolved homicide,” by Vanessa Miller, The Gazette, November 16, 2012.
  • ☛ “Schneider Faces Trial For Murder,” Cedar Rapids Gazette, January 25, 1963.
  • ☛ “Schneider Freed at Iowa City,” Cedar Rapids Gazette, February 16, 1963.
  • ☛ “Schneider Robbery Trial To Be Jan. 21,” Cedar Rapids Gazette, January 4, 1963.
  • ☛ “Startled Gunman Slays Iowa City Man: E.J. Kriz Killed; Masked Would-Be Robber Gets Away,”  Iowa City Press-Citizen, November 10, 1962.
  • ☛ U.S. Census.
  • ☛ “Youth Held For Murder At Iowa City,” Muscatine Journal, November 14, 1962.
  • ☛ “Yule Visits to Accused Youth,” Cedar Rapids Gazette, December 26, 1962.

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