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.
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.