Clara Green Carl

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Clara Carl, born Clara Green, was the daughter of a Straitsville, Ohio farmer.[1] She was convicted in 1921 of having poisoned her second husband and his father. She was sentenced to life imprisonment but paroled after 15 years. during her time in prison she escaped once and evaded recapture for a week. She was "considered one of the most daring woman criminals in the country" earning the nickname "feminine Bluebeard."[1]


She and her childhood sweetheart Robert Gibson eloped in March 14, 1908 at Covington, Kentucky and moved to Cleveland where he continued to be a teacher while she became a writer for a newspaper.[2] The couple came up with a get-rich-quick scheme where they travelled from town to town, writing and selling books of local historic areas. Their plan failed. While in Huntsville, Missouri, Robert became ill with an unusual illness. He died March 18, 1920, leaving Clara a widow and the sole beneficiary of a $3,000 life insurance policy.[2]

A few months after her first husband's death, Clara met and married Frank Carl in September 14, 1920 with the impression that he was wealthy.[2] This was a tumultuous relationship and at one point, Mrs. Carl filed a complaint for divorce against her husband from the Hancock Circuit Court. When asked by Mrs. Lizzie Maynard what her grounds for divorce were, Clara replied that "if the law did not provide a way there was always some way."[2] In order to get her to drop the divorce lawsuit, Frank made her the sole beneficiary of his life insurance policy, worth $2,000.[1] In 1921, Clara and Frank invited Frank's elderly father, Alonzo Carl, 85, to come live with them in Philadelphia, Indiana.[1] According to Frank's brother, Herman Carl, his father was in good health when he went to live with the couple.[2] Like Clara's first husband, Alozo became gravely ill by an unknown illness and died August 1921.[2] Expecting property from her father-in-law, Clara was furious to find that it had been given to her husband's brother-in-law Dr. Iles. Two months later, Frank was dead, suffering the same illness. The day after her husband's funeral, Clara asked Herman to meet with her to discuss obtaining Alonzo's property from Dr. Iles.[2] Her suspicious actions aroused skepticism among her neighbors who demanded an investigation. Frank and Alonzo's bodies were exhumed, revealing that each man had enough arsenic in his system "'to kill a dozen men,' according to the prosecutor."[1] Clara was arrested and charged January 1922.[2]

During her trial, Miss Rhoda Loehr testified that in July 1921, Clara bought arsenic sighting that "neighborhood cats had been stealing her chickens [and] she said she wanted to kill the cats."[3] Evidence of arsenic in her second husband and father-in-law revealed this to be true. An investigation into her first husband's death revealed the same results.[2] Clara was found guilty of second degree murder and sentenced to life in prison at the Indiana Women's prison at Indianapolis.[2] She was "considered one of the most daring woman criminals in the country" earning the nickname "feminine Bluebeard."[1]

While in prison, Clara made a daring and cunning escape in early October 1925.[1] She was assigned outdoor work due to ill health and became a "trusty," earning the trust of prison guards after 3 years of good behavior.[1] Clara was assigned to feeding the prison-yard chickens. One evening, she climbed up one of the chicken coops, hopped the prison wall and escaped.[1] She evaded police for about a week before her re-capture. At aged 54, Clara was paroled on May 26, 1937, 15 years after she was convicted of murder.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Woman "Lifer" Displays Skill in Prison Escape". The Crawfordsville Review. October 13, 1925. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Carl". Retrieved November 8, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Poison was Bought by Clara Carl". Warsaw Daily. May 23, 1922.