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A.K.A.: "Whitey"
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Alcatraz escape attempt
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: May 23, 1938
Date of arrest: Same day
Date of birth: 1913
Victim profile: Royal Cline, 36 (custodial worker)
Method of murder: Hitting with a hammer
Location: Alcatraz Penitentiary, California, USA
Status: Sentenced to life imprisonment in 1938

Rufus Franklin was an American criminal who served a life sentence in Alcatraz. He is best known for taking part in the third documented attempted escape from Alcatraz Prison with Thomas R. Limerick and James C. Lucas on the night of May 23, 1938.


Franklin was originally sentenced to imprisonment for Bank Robbery, Grand Theft Auto and Assault charges. He was then transferred to Alcatraz, where he became inmate number 335-AZ.

Alcatraz escape attempt

In the spring of 1938, Franklin, Thomas R. Limerick and James C. Lucas planned an escape from Alcatraz. Their escape plan began by incapacitating an unarmed custodial worker supervising a work detail on the top floor. Once the supervising worker was rendered unconscious, the convicts would escape through a window to the rooftop, where they would incapacitate an armed guard and leave the island via a seized police boat.

They enacted their escape plan on May 23, 1938 in the prison's mat shop, where they assaulted custodial worker Royal Kline with hammer blows to his head. They proceeded to the roof, where an armed guard shot both Franklin and Limerick, although Lucas wasn't shot. Other guards arrived at the scene. Franklin, Limerick and Lucas were cornered and surrendered to the guards.

The custodial worker died of his injuries the next day, and Thomas Limerick, one of the wounded convicts, also died. Franklin and the other surviving convict, James C. Lucas, were tried for murder and sentenced to life imprisonment.




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