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Nathaniel HARVEY





Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Rape - Robbery
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: June 17, 1985
Date of arrest: October 1985
Date of birth: March 21, 1950
Victim profile: Irene Schnaps, 37
Method of murder: Beating with a "hammer like" weapon
Location: Middlesex County, New Jersey, USA
Status: Sentenced to death in 1986

Supreme Court of New Jersey


opinion A89-2001


Nathaniel Harvey was convicted of, among other things, armed robbery, kidnapping, and the sexual assault of Irene Schnaps in 1985.  He entered her garden apartment through an unlocked patio door in a burglary attempt, but woke Irene while stealing her watch and jewelry.  A scuffle ensued and Harvey beat and choked her to death, for as long as an hour.

Though he's still sitting on death row, Harvey's death sentence was overturned by the New Jersey Supreme Court in 1990, saying the jury should have been asked to decide whether or not Harvey intended to kill Schnaps, or only to cause serious injury.


Nathaniel Harvey

On June 17, 1985, the lifeless body of Irene Schnaps, a 37-year-old widow, was found in the blood-splashed bedroom of her garden apartment in Plainsboro, New Jersey. She had sustained severe head and facial wounds. There was evidence that someone had attempted to wipe the body clean. A pillowcase on the floor bore part of a bloody footprint.

The autopsy revealed that Irene Schnaps had sustained fifteen blows to the head, the largest of which was six inches in length, likely made by a hammer or a tire iron. Some of the blows fractured her skull, cuasing direct injury to the brain. Her teeth were knocked out, her jaw was broken, and there were deep pressure marks on both sides of the neck.

At the time, Nathaniel Harvey was on parole after serving time for raping and violently beating a woman in Monroe Township, in Middlesex County in 1979. After the murder of Irene Schnaps, the police searched for her killer, while also investigating a series of burglaries and sexual assaults occurring in Middlesex County.

In October, 1985, Harvey was arrested after he tried to kidnap a 13 year old girl from her West Windsor home. Evidence found in his car, DNA and statements made by Harvey led to his arrest for Irene Schnapsí murder.

Nathaniel Harvey was convicted of her murder and was sentenced to death by a jury. He is presently on death row, while also serving time for another kidnapping, rape and robbery which occurred in Mercer County.


Is Court Killing Death Penalty In New Jersey?



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