A prolific American "Bluebeard," Cline was
linked with at least nine homicides between 1930 and his arrest in 1945.
Eight of his wives were dispatched after willing their earthly
possessions to Cline; his single male victim was an evangelist, Rev.
Ernest Jones, who made Cline the heir to $11,000 shortly before his
With practice, Cline polished his murder technique to
perfection. Insisting on a lavish honeymoon, he would check into a
stylish hotel, there persuading his bride to drink a glass of buttermilk
laced with powerful sedatives. As she lost consciousness, the house
physician would be summoned, told that Mrs. Cline was suffering "another
heart attack." Hours later, when a second dose of drugs proved
fatal, doctors were inclined to issue death certificates citing 'heart
failure' as the proximate cause.
In May 1944, Cline married a Chicago widow, Delora
Krebs, and promptly set off for the West Coast. Delora's annuity checks
were always promptly cashed, but relatives had trouble reaching her by
telephone; Cline habitually put them off with tales of illness, shopping
errands, previous engagements. When a wire arrived from Portland, Oregon,
reporting her death, family members pressed for an investigation,
uncovering Cline's criminal activities in a dozen states.
Cremation of his late, lamented wives saved Cline from
prosecution on a murder charge, but he was jailed for forgery in San
Francisco. Delora's annuity checks came back to haunt him, and testimony
from two surviving poison victims persuaded the court that a maximum
sentence was justified. Sentenced to 126 years, Cline died in Folsom
Prison, of a heart attack, on August 5, 1948.
Michael Newton - An Encyclopedia of Modern Serial
Killers - Hunting Humans
Monday, May. 06, 1946
To the lonely, well-heeled old women he met at church
functions, the romantic charm of quiet, heavy-set Alfred Leonard Cline,
56, was considerably enhanced by a remote quality they could not
Cline liked company; but his company usually died
suddenly in a hotel room shortly after signing her estate over to him.
He liked efficiency. He almost always took his company on pleasure trips,
then asked her to drink a glass of buttermilk. When she died, he had her
body cremated before police could' examine it.
Next to company and efficiency, he liked forgery.
This had cost him two prison terms and an arrest last December. Digging
into his secretive past, police found at least eight instances in which
Forger Cline's buttermilk-drinking friends had died, leaving him
legacies totaling $82,000. They also found that he left one of the
coldest trails south of the Yukon.
But in San Francisco last week, Judge Herbert C.
Kaufman made it reasonably sure that Alfred Cline would make no more
close friends. Charged with nine counts of forgery, the judge ruled that
the nine sentences should run consecutively. Maximum time: 126 years.
Dates of Killings: 1931 - 1945
Locations: California, Nevada, Texas, Massachusetts,
He became friends with wealthy people.
He would have his victims put his name in their
wills and then he would kill them.
Most of the victims were cremated.
He was never convicted of the murders due to lack
of evidence, but he was convicted of forgery and sent to jail.
M RACE: W TYPE: T MOTIVE: CE-inheritance
"Bluebeard" slayer of eight wives and one male friend
126-year. sentence in Calif.; died in prison, Aug. 1948