Who Speaks For the Fallen? True & Tragic Story of Julius Schulte


Madison is scheduled to executed at Holman Prison in Atmore 6PM tonight Thursday, January 25th

Below are links to my radio interview on FMTALK1065 with Sean Sullivan  from Friday May 13, 2016 on the case and Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals staying Madison’s execution

My Fox 10 interview on the case.


April 18, 2018, will mark the 33rd anniversary of the senseless slaying of Mobile Police  Cpl. Julius Schulte, whose killer remains on death row and is set to be executed next month. As we will surely hear the cacophony of death penalty critics over the next few weeks, it is difficult to imagine a more worthy candidate of the state’s ultimate sanction than Vernon Madison.  Madison’s long battle with the criminal justice system began when he shot a person at age  13. By  17,  he stabbed another. He committed an armed robbery as well. According to former Mobile County District Attorney Chris Galanos, Madison also “attacked an inmate and assaulted a security guard adding 10 more years to his sentence.”  He only served 12 years of the 35 year sentence (in Mississippi’s Parchman Prison) and was out on parole when he executed Officer Schulte.(Renee Busby, Lack of Prison Space Deplored by Galanos, Mobile Register,  May 22, 1985, at 4-B).

December 1974 Letter to Editor of Ebony Magazine Madison wrote declaring his innocence in his Mississippi cases.

Little has been said of the victim, other than he was a Mobile Police Officer. You will probably hear much of the defendant’s mental history, or how the State improperly struck African-Americans from the jury, or how the State of Alabama shouldn’t be in the business of killing folks, or that the manner of execution is cruel and unusual, or perhaps Alabama’s steadfast adherence to judicial override (the authority of a judge to override the jury recommendation of life without the possibility of parole in favor death). What you probably won’t hear a lot about is Cpl. Schulte. He was described by friends and colleagues as “the peacemaker” for his ability to bring people together to work their differences out instead of relying on the court system. Schulte was a 22 year veteran of the police force. For six days, he lay in the hospital fighting for his life, until succumbing to his injuries.

ex-con held in policeman's shooting CROP.jpg
Mobile Press Register, April 20, 1985

The facts were largely undisputed. Judge McMillan’s rendition of facts in Madison v. State,718 So.2d 90,94 (Ala. Crim. App. 1997) evidences a cold blooded execution style murder and another near murder:

“[On]April 18, 1985, the residents of 1058 Etta Avenue were Cheryl Green, the woman with whom the Defendant had lived until days prior to the murder, and Kimberly Hughes, her 11-year-old daughter.  That night, Cpl. Julius Schulte, a police officer of the City of Mobile, was dispatched and went to 1058 Etta Avenue in Mobile to investigate a missing child complaint. When Cpl. Schulte arrived, he learned that the child, Kimberly Hughes, had come home after her mother called the police but before he arrived. He also found himself in the midst of a domestic dispute between Cheryl Green and the Defendant, for April 18, 1985, was also the night that Green had thrown the Defendant’s personal effects out of the house they previously shared. The Defendant had come and gone from 1058 Eitta Avenue before Cpl. Schulte arrived, ostensibly to look for Kimberly. He came back with another woman, Mary McCord, after Cpl. Schulte was on the scene, but he left her and his .32 caliber pistol at the corner before proceeding to the house located in the middle of the block. Once inside the 1058 Etta Avenue residence, the Defendant argued with Green, accusing her of calling the police on him. Even though he now knew the child was secure, Cpl. Schulte remained on the scene and called for a backup officer, because he had been asked to stay until Green and her child were safely away from the Defendant.

The Defendant and Green came out of the house, and both talked to Cpl. Schulte, who never exited his patrol car. After that brief conversation, the defendant appeared to leave. He did not go far; rather, he simply went to the corner where Mary McCord was holding his .32 caliber pistol. He took the gun from her and left her.

Now armed, the Defendant went back to where Green was still talking with Cpl. Schulte, who still sat innocently and unsuspectingly in his unmarked police car. The Defendant, however, returned a different way. He went over one block, and he sneaked up behind the houses on Etta Avenue. He emerged from the shadows, approached Cpl. Schulte from the left rear, and coldly and methodically fired two shots at near point blank range into the back of Cpl. Schulte’s head. He then turned the weapon on Cheryl Green, shooting her in the back. After killing his helpless victim, Cpl. Schulte, and shooting Cheryl Green, the Defendant fled the scene.”

Testimony in Madison’s third trial revealed that Madison later told an acquaintance, “I just killed a cop.” Ex Parte Madison,718 So.2d 104.105 (Ala.1998)

Police officers escort capital murder Vernon Madison (center) into the courthouse for a bail hearing in 1985-crop
Police Officers escort capital murder Vernon Madison (center) into the courthouse for a bail hearing in 1985. Photo is from AL.COM

Madison was tried for capital murder three times (1985, 1990, and 1994). Twice his convictions were set aside by the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals. His 1985 and 1990 juries returned guilty verdicts with recommendations of death. His 1994 jury returned a guilty verdict with a 8-4 recommendation of LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE. However, the trial judge overrode the jury recommendation and sentenced Madison to death. If you want the detailed procedural history, below is Judge Kristi Dubose’s (US District Judge Southern District of Alabama) recitation in Madison v. Allen, CIVIL ACTION NO.: 09-00009-KD-B (S.D. Ala. Apr 25, 2013) :

“In May 1985, Petitioner Vernon Madison (“Madison’), who is black, was indicted by a Mobile County grand jury for capital murder, for killing Julius Schulte, a white police officer of the Mobile, Alabama Police Department. On September 12, 1985, a jury found Madison guilty of capital murder; he was convicted and sentenced to death. Madison appealed and the Court of Criminal Appeals reversed his conviction and remanded for a new trial because the dictates of Batson had been violated. Madison v. State545 So.2d 94 (Ala. Crim. App. 1987) (Madison I) (finding that the prosecutor’s explanations for the use of peremptory strikes to remove all seven (7) black prospective jurors from venire were “superficial, show[ed] a lack of proper examination” and did not overcome the defendant’s prima facie case). Following his second trial in September of 1990, Madison was again convicted and sentenced to death. Madison appealed, and the Court of Criminal Appeals reversed his conviction and remanded for a new trial, on the grounds that the state had elicited expert testimony based partly on facts not in evidence. Madison v. State620 So.2d 62 (Ala. Crim. App. 1992) (Madison II) (reversing because the prosecution’s psychologist Dr. McClaren was permitted, during the guilt phase of trial, to state his opinion of the appellant’s mental condition at the time the offense was committed, despite the fact that McClaren’s opinion was based in part on information not in evidence).”

At his third trial in April 1994, the jury found Madison guilty of capital murder and recommended during the penalty phase, by an 8-4 vote, that he be sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. However, at the July 7, 1994 sentencing hearing, the trial judge overrode the jury’s recommendation and sentenced Madison to death. Madison appealed and on January 17, 1997, the Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed his conviction and death sentence, Madison v. State718 So.2d 90 (Ala. Crim. App. 1997) (Madison III), and on June 19, 1998, the Alabama Supreme Court affirmed, Ex parte Madison718 So.2d 104 (Ala. 1998). Madison then petitioned the United States Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari, which was denied on November 16, 1998.Madison v. Alabama, 525 U.S. 1006 (1998). On June 18, 1999, Madison initiated a collateral attack on his conviction and death sentence by filing a Rule 32 petition for post-conviction relief, which was dismissed by the trial court and affirmed by the Court of Criminal Appeals. Madison v. State999 So.2d 561 (Ala. Crim. App. 2006). On December 1, 2006, the Court of Criminal Appeals denied Madison’s request for a rehearing and finally, Madison sought certiorari review in the Alabama Supreme Court, which was denied on August 15, 2008.

madison crop
“I just killed a cop.”

After exhausting his appeals in the state court system, Madison turned to federal court. He filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in the Southern District of Alabama alleging prosecutors improperly struck prospective African-American jurors in violation of the United States Supreme Court decision in Batson v. Kentucky,476 U.S. 79 (1986). Judge Kristi Dubose denied Madison’s Batson claims [technically it was a petition for writ of habeas corpus under 28 U.S.C. § 2254], and the conviction and death sentence remained in place. Madison appealed this ruling to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals which reversed the District Court’s denial of Mr. Madison’s Batson claim. Madison v. Comm’r, Ala. Dep’t of Corr., 677 F.3d 1333, 1339 (11th Cir. 2012) (per curiam). Judge Dubose then held the evidentiary hearing and ultimately denied Matson’s petition. Madison then appealed Judge Dubose’s order again to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which granted oral arguments (a rarity).  Ultimately, the Eleventh Circuit affirmed Judge Dubose’s order denying Madison’s Batson appeal. Madison is now set to be executed on May 12, 2016, some 31 years after the murder.May execution date set for convicted Mobile cop killer

AL.COM has been covering the case of late in conjunction with The Marshall Project. They have a Countdown Page in case you are interested. The Marshall Project website says:

“Vernon Madison, 65, was convicted and sentenced to death in Mobile County, Ala. in the April 18, 1985 slaying of police Officer Julius Schulte, who was responding to a domestic disturbance call. Madison was on parole at the time. Madison had three trials, the last one in 1994. State appellate courts twice sent the case back to Mobile County, once for a violation based on race-based jury selection and once based on improper testimony for an expert witness for the prosecution. He is one of Alabama’s longest-serving death row inmates. Madison’s attorney in February filed a motion seeking to stop his execution, saying Madison suffers ‘from significant cognitive decline, acute mental health disorders, and severe medical problems that render him incompetent to be executed. ‘ A Mobile County judge has scheduled a competency hearing for Madison.”

This hearing was held on Friday April 15, 2016 and the court gave both sides a week to file briefs with the court before issuing his judgment.

Schulte’s obituary is below:

crop obit
Schulte’s senseless murder stunned the community. Hundreds attended his funeral. It was an incredible tragedy.
funeral crop
Mobile Press Register, April 27, 1985
Shortly after his death, Cpl. Schulte was honored with a plaque at Strickland Youth Center. He was remembered as a cop who loved children, who died in the performance of attempting to help another child. He was tough as nails they said, but he couldn’t bear to see a child cry.
Mobile Register, Metropolitan Section, June 26, 1985

April 24, 2017 was the 31st  anniversary of his  Cpl. Schulte’s death. The Officer Down Memorial Page has this picture of Cpl. Schulte followed by multiple posts of family members, fellow officers, and friends. Below are just a few.

Cpl. Julius Schulte

Michael Schulte reflection-




Former DA Says Vernon Madison Case is Perfect Example of Flaw in the Judicial System

Madison’s execution date was later scheduled for May of 2016.  The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay of that execution, which the United States Supreme Court refused to overturn. The vote was a hotly contested 4-4 vote (Justice Scalia’s sudden death deprived the court of a 9th vote).

Finally in November 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court in  per curium opinion reversed the Eleventh Circuit, allowing the execution date to proceed.


Holding: Because the state court’s determinations of law and fact were not “so lacking in justification” as to give rise to error “beyond any possibility for fairminded disagreement,” Vernon Madison’s claim to federal habeas relief must fail.

JudgmentReversed in a per curiam opinion on November 6, 2017. Justice Ginsburg filed a concurring opinion, in which Justices Breyer and Sotomayor joined. Justice Breyer filed a concurring opinion.

Photos Below from AL.COM Story: Vernon Madison set for execution in slaying of Julius Schulte

Corporal J.N. Schulte fingerprints Clifford DeLane Garling
Corporal J.N. Schulte fingerprints Clifford DeLane Garling, but these prints will never be on file at the Mobile Police Department. Instead, Clifford’s fingerprints, like those of more than 500 of his classmates, will be sent home for his parents to file away, hoping they will never have to use them. But having such a record of their child’s identity can give some parents peace of mind, knowing it will be available if ever needed to identify – or even save the life – of their child. (Mobile Press Register file)


Sept. 25, 1948, Mobile Press Register - shows Julius Schulte posing with his high school football team. Schulte played running back for McGill
This photo – printed in the Sept. 25, 1948, Mobile Press Register – shows Julius Schulte posing with his high school football team. Schulte played running back for McGill. (Courtesy Mike Schulte)
This anonymous letter was one of dozens, perhaps even hundreds sent to the Mobile Police Department after Cpl. Julius Schulte was killed.
This anonymous letter was one of dozens, perhaps even hundreds sent to the Mobile Police Department after Cpl. Julius Schulte was killed. In it, a mother writes: “Cpl. Schulte touched our lives in a very special and meaningful way! Through his unselfish kindness and understanding ways, he turned my son’s life around, bringing him from a street-wise ‘punk’ to a worthwhile young man!” (Courtesy Mike Schulte)

I welcome those who may have known Cpl. Schulte to post comments in remembrance of him.

matt green-
Matt Green is a former assistant district attorney who prosecuted major felonies and violent crimes in the Baldwin County District Attorney’s Office. He served as a municipal court judge in the City of Mobile and the City of Saraland. He is President of the Mobile Federalist Society for Law & Public Policy Studies.






3 thoughts on “Who Speaks For the Fallen? True & Tragic Story of Julius Schulte

  1. Officer Schulte, as we called him then, was one of the main security guards at the Mobile Public Library where I was employed as a part-time page , the summer of 1965. He was the kindest and most courteous police officer. That summer was my first summer after high school graduation and Officer Schulte protected me and caused a man who was stalking me all over the library ,as I pushed my cart of books and shelved them in the late afternoon and early evening, to leave me alone and the man never returned after he saw me talking in the main foyer to Officer Schulte. The man must have realized I was reporting his unnerving behavior to the policeman on duty. I asked Officer Schulte if what the man was doing was a crime and he answered , “Yes, he is a modified peeping-Tom, and they do their watching of young ladies in public places and in open sight of other people.” I was very young and had never worked before and had no idea how dangerous the world could be even in a place like the public library. Officer Schulte became my hero ,in uniform , as he was like a kind father to me and made me trust in law enforcement from that first experience. Years later, when I worked at Commercial Guaranty Bank on Government and Franklin Streets , he was sometimes in the same area and I would always remember how he protected me from a predator that summer of ’65. I have only read this today and after all these years , my heart is so sad that such a fine human being who made a difference in the lives of so many young people ,especially , died in such a brutal, cold-blooded murder. He is in heaven ,I am sure. My deepest sympathy to his family. I just had to type this as I have tears falling from my eyes
    This was years ago , but to me, it is today that this article is read by me and the loss is felt because Officer Schulte has never been forgotten by me and I have told the story about my first summer job and the policeman who came to my aide, when I was so young and naive, that I had no idea that predators like that man even existed. My parents were very thankful to him as were my supervisors and fellow student workers at the Mobile Public Library. May he rest in eternity with all of the souls in heaven.
    I shall always be indebted to his professional abilities and protection of me as a young girl.
    Thank you, Officer Schulte,
    Carol Dixon

  2. I will see if I can find anything related to that period of time. I was so young that he was like a father explaining what was happening but he used very refined terminology and was very firm about the seriousness of the situation without alarming me. I went on to live a life now for over 30 years working with librarians far and near for decades as a distributor for publishers of children’s books and adult non-fiction. I have travelled to London and Germany for years to international book fairs and I have told and retold the story of how this one incident could have destroyed my self confidence with fear had it not been for the kind, wise intervention of Officer Schulte who assured me that he was there to serve and protect the library and its employees and that I had done a brave thing that day by reporting what I knew instinctively , was very frightening and intimidating to me as I tried to do my menial first job at the library. I never had a chance to tell him how much it meant to me. However, I have lived a very productive , selfless life and given back always to my community for the betterment of children of all ages. I think he would have been proud of what path in life became a vocation to me as it is centered on public libraries in many, many places where I have worked one on one with librarians in all positions. After that summer, I attended Spring Hill college for a year and studied under the Jesuits who taught there then. I am glad that you took the time to read my account of the integrity of this slain officer.. Schulte.

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