Klemme Murder 1951
Wife Killed In Shooting At Waukon - Posse Hunts Husband - Daughter-in-Law is Critically Hurt
Waukon- A statewide search was on Saturday for a Waukon painter who reportedly shot and killed his wife and critically wounded his daughter-in-law, a waitress in a Cedar Rapids café. Officers who were on the scene within minutes and a pack of bloodhounds imported from La Crosse, Wis., failed to turn up any trace of the man by Saturday noon.
Object of the search is Arthur Klemme, 55, a painter and paperhanger. Killed was his wife, 51, who died within 15 minutes after she was shot in front of the Klemme home.
In critical condition in the Waukon hospital is Mrs. Clarence Klemme, about 20. She was in an oxygen tent Saturday and was being given transfusions. A bride of about six months, she has been working in a café in Cedar Rapids but had been staying with her parents-in-law in Waukon off and on since her 22-year-old husband entered the service. She is the former Darlene Jennings of Ossian. Her husband was reported en-route to her bedside Saturday from Ft. Pickett, Va. Her mother, Mrs. Nellie Jennings of Ossian, was at the hospital.
Sheriff William Huffman reported that Klemme shot his wife with a .38 caliber revolver at about 11 p.m. Friday after they pulled up in front of the Klemme home in a car the daughter-in-law reportedly had driven from Cedar Rapids. Mrs. Clarence Klemme, who was sitting beside her mother-in-law, jumped from the car and ran screaming toward a neighbor's home. The sheriff reported that Klemme shot her as she ran. "He shot her down in the street. She was hit several times, once in the chest." Huffman said Klemme and the two women had been drinking in a downtown tavern before the shooting. Just before they left the tavern, the sheriff said, Klemme walked up to a Waukon funeral director, Howard Hanson, and said "Maybe I can drum up some business for you." Hanson said later that "I didn't think anything of it. I thought he was kidding."
The sheriff said he had found no witnesses to the shooting, which "woke up the entire neighborhood." He said Klemme fled on foot after the shooting, apparently to the south part of town, and that he must have been picked up by a passing motorist or had somebody waiting for him. "The bloodhounds couldn't get a track." "We were out after him in a matter of minutes," the sheriff said. "I'm amazed that he got away so fast." A posse of 10 men with bloodhounds scoured the area but found no trace of the fugitive. A statewide alarm was sounded immediately, and highway patrolmen were alerted to be on the watch for Klemme.
Mrs. Clarence Klemme told Deputy Sheriff W. R. Ryan, before she was taken to the hospital, that they had arrived in front of the house at about 10:40. Klemme told her to drive on, she said, but she refused. That precipitated an argument, which culminated in the shooting. Huffman said Klemme was known to have a violent temper, and that he had been involved in a local shooting fracas "some time ago," but that no charges were brought against him at that time.
Klemme and his wife were married Dec. 3, 1928, in La Crosse. They were divorced Dec. 24, 1947, but had gone back together again. They reportedly were not living together at the time of the shooting. They had six children: Mrs. LaVera Leiron of La Crosse; Arthur, 25, who lives in Waukon but could not be located Saturday; Clarence, in the Army; Kenneth, 21, of Waukon, and Rosemary, 19, and Laura, 16, who lived with their mother. Mrs. Klemme's body was taken to the Martin Brothers funeral home here.
Hunt Painter for Killing at Waukon - Posse, Bloodhounds Find no Trace
Waukon - A Waukon housewife was shot to death Friday night and a statewide alarm was given after a posse with bloodhounds futilely hunted the Waukon area for the woman's husband who is wanted for questioning in the case. Sheriff Will Huffman of Allamakee county said Mrs. Art Klemme, about 55, wife of a Waukon painter, died within about 15 minutes after the shooting which occurred on the street near the Klemme home at about 11 p.m.
Mrs. Clarence Klemme, about 22, who had been living with her parents-in-law while her husband is in service, was hospitalized with critical wounds. The sheriff said she was shot down as she ran to get help after her mother-in-law was wounded. She was in an oxygen tent and was being given transfusions Saturday. The younger Klemme was reported enroute home to his wife's bedside from Camp Pickett, Va.
The sheriff said Klemme, his wife and daughter-in-law had been downtown together during the evening. He said he had found no direct witnesses to the shooting. A mortician told the sheriff he had seen Art Klemme during the evening and that the painter jokingly remarked he might have some business for him.
Sheriff Huffman said it is believed Klemme may have been given a ride by a passing motorist following the shooting. He said a night-long search, with bloodhounds was made in Waukon and its immediate vicinity.
The elder couple had been divorced once several years ago, Huffman said, but had been remarried. There were reports that they did not get along well, he added.
Husband Flees After Shooting Spree at Night
Waukon - A middle-aged husband "with a violent temper" fled before law officers today after he shot and killed his wife and critically wounded his daughter-in-law, Allamakee County Sheriff William Huffman reported.
Huffman said Art Klemme, 55, a painter and paperhanger, shot his wife with a .32 calibre revolver last night just as they pulled up in front of the Klemme home in the family car. Mrs. Clarence Klemme, 22, who was sitting beside her mother-in-law, jumped from the car, screaming, and ran for a neighbor's home.
"He shot her down in the street," Huffman said. "She was hit several times, once in the chest." The young woman was taken to Waukon hospital in critical condition.
Huffman said Klemme and the two women had been drinking in a downtown Waukon tavern before the shooting. The Sheriff said Klemme walked up to Waukon undertaker Howard Anderson just before leaving the tavern. "Maybe I can drum up some business for you," Huffman quoted Klemme as saying. Anderson said later that "I didn't think anything of it, I thought he was kidding."
The Sheriff said Klemme fled on foot after the shooting, apparently into the south part of town. A posse, using bloodhounds, pursued him but to no advantage. "The bloodhounds couldn't get a track" Huffman said. "I believe Klemme got picked up by someone or had someone waiting for him."
The Sheriff said Klemme was known to have a "violent temper," and that he had been involved in a local shooting fracas "sometime ago" but no charges were brought against him. A statewide alarm was sounded immediately, and highway patrolmen throughout the state were alerted. The shootings occurred late last night, Huffman said, and "woke up the entire neighborhood."
Wife Slayer Is Killed by State Agent
Waukon- An inquest was being planned Monday into the death of a middle-aged Waukon house painter who shot his wife and daughter-in-law after promising a funeral director he would "drum up some business for you." The painter, Arthur Klemme, 51, was shot in his house - in front of which the Friday night shooting took place - Sunday morning by State Agent Robert Blair.
One of Klemme's victims, his wife, Amelia, died within a short time of the shooting Friday. (Amelia's obituary)
His daughter-in-law, Darlene Klemme, a waitress in a Cedar Rapids café, remained in serious condition Monday in a Waukon hospital. Hospital authorities reported that the daughter-in-law seemed to be somewhat improved.
The inquest was ordered by Allamakee County Coroner R. W. Pateman. If the daughter-in-law was able to testify the coroner's jury was to consider the case Monday. If not, it was to be postponed until she could. Klemme had been the object of a widespread search since the shooting shortly before midnight Friday. An information charging him with murder had been filed and a warrant had been issued. He had eluded a posse of men on the scene within a few minutes after the shooting.
A pack of bloodhounds imported from La Crosse, Wis., had failed to pick up his scent. But officials concluded after his capture that he probably had not been more than a mile or two from the scene of the shooting between that time and the time he was located. Klemme's clothes were wet and soiled and his shoes were muddy. Apparently he had been hiding in the open. Heavy rains Saturday and Saturday night and an alert Waukon night marshal led officers to Klemme's hiding place. The rains softened the ground. Sunday morning Night Marshal Lloyd Godfrey spotted fresh tracks in the ground, leading toward the house.
He called Sheriff Will Huffman. Huffman went to the house, accompanied by Deputy W. R. Ryan, Blair and State Patrolman Bob Jennett. They asked several members of the Klemme family if Arthur was at home. They denied he was there, and were asked to leave the house while it was searched. Huffman and Ryan searched the downstairs while Blair went upstairs. Blair said he entered a bedroom and saw Klemme sitting on a trunk in a corner. "What are you doing here ?" the officer asked. "Just resting," Klemme answered.
At that point the painter grabbed for a nickel-plated revolver partly hidden under a felt hat beside him. He didn't have time to fire a shot. Blair quickly drew his gun and fired three shots. One shot struck Klemme in the right temple and two hit him in the body. He died almost instantly. Sheriff Huffman said the revolver apparently was not the one used in the shooting Friday, and that the original one has not been recovered.
Motorists jammed into Waukon Sunday to view the scene of the shootings after word spread of Klemme's death in the battle with the state agent. Klemme's body was taken to the Martin Brothers funeral home, where the body of his wife had been taken earlier. Funeral services for the wife, Amelia, 48, were conducted Monday afternoon.
Before Friday night's shooting, the trio reportedly had been together for a time in a Waukon tavern. As they left, Klemme approached Howard Hanson of the Bakke-Hanson funeral home and told him "Maybe I can drum up some business for you." The shooting followed a short time later, during an argument which followed their arrival in front of the Klemme house in a car. Sheriff Huffman said no motive had been learned for the shooting. The Sheriff said Klemme was known as a man with a violent temper. He and Mrs. Klemme were married in 1928, divorced in 1948, had gone back together again but had been separated again recently. They quarreled frequently. Mrs. Klemme was shot while sitting in the front seat of the car. The daughter-in-law was shot several times as she ran toward a neighbor's house.
Wife Killer Shot to Death
Waukon, Ia. - Allamakee County Coroner R.W. Pateman says he plans to hold an inquest into the death of a middle-aged house painter who was shot and killed Sunday by a state agent.
Art Klemme, 51, against whom a murder information was issued Saturday after he killed his wife, Amelia, 48, and critically wounded his daughter-in-law Friday night, was shot to death in his own bedroom by state agent Bob Blair. Blair said he fired three shots when Klemme reached for a revolver. One bullet struck Klemme in the right temple and two hit him in the body. He died almost instantly.
Officers said the weapon Klemme was reaching for was the same one used in the killing of Klemme's wife, and wounding of Mrs. Clarence Klemme, 18, his daughter-in-law. The younger Mrs. Klemme is in serious condition in Waukon hospital.
Fresh footprints near the Klemme dwelling led to his discovery.
Jury says State Agent Shot in Self Defense
Waukon- Two coroner's juries here Monday returned verdicts in the Arthur Klemme weekend shooting cases. A three-man jury returned a verdict that Amelia Klemme died Friday as the result of bullets entering her body from a gun in the hands of her husband, Arthur Klemme. A second coroner's jury late Monday found that the gunshot wounds which killed Klemme Sunday were not inflicted feloniously but were fired in self defense by State Agent Robert Blair.
Waukon Man Sues Girl Involved In Shooting Fracas
Waukon- A $10,000 alienation of affections suit was on file in district court today involving Darlene Klemme, 17, who was shot and critically wounded by her father-in-law here May. 18. The suit was brought by Pvt. Clarence Klemme, Waukon, against Paul Williamson, now working in the Cedar Rapids area. Williamson is reported to be a resident of Missouri.
Klemme's wife now is reported in good condition at Memorial hospital here, recovering from three chest wounds received at the hands of her husband's father, Arthur.
Arthur Klemme killed his wife, Amelia, 48, and wounded Darlene as she ran from a car in which the three were riding the night of the shootings. Klemme two days later was himself shot and killed by a state agent.
Young Klemme claims Williamson had a "friendship" with his wife. He claims that Darlene was driving Williamson's car the night she was shot.
~sources: Mason City Globe-Gazette, Saturday May 19, 1951; Oelwein Daily Register, Saturday May 19, 1951 & Tues., May 29, 1951; Waterloo Daily Courier, Monday May 21, 1951 and Cedar Rapids Gazette, Sat., May 19, 1951, Mon., May 21, 1951(included the photo of Amelia), & Tues., May 22, 1951
~the articles were transcribed by S. Ferrall & Reid R. Johnson
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