California · Crime Scene Photography

Wife-killer/dismemberer executed (1948)

October 15, 1948
San Quentin, California
Arthur Eggers is executed for the murder of his wife, Dorothy

Arthur was a smaller, somewhat submissive man while his wife Dorothy was the dominant personality in the marriage. She allegedly was verbally abusive to Arthur, calling him “a little insect” among other insults, and was prone to extramarital affairs. Arthur discovered Dorothy with one of her paramours and, in a rage, attempted to attack the other man who was able to slip away as Dorothy tried to stop her husband.

A short scuffle began and the gun Arthur was waving at the escaping man “accidentally” went off, killing Dorothy. He used a handsaw to remove her head and hands to prevent identification, then dumped her remains in a remote area of the San Bernardino mountains. Suspicious activity made him a prime suspect almost immediately, including reporting his wife missing but stating her height at 5’2″ rather than her real height (and the estimated height of the headless body) at 5’7″. He also attempted to sell Dorothy’s car, by switching the title into his name first, approximately a week after Dorothy’s murder. Investigators later examined the car and found blood in the trunk matching Dorothy’s.

Arthur confessed, claiming he never meant to kill her. He also revealed he burned Dorothy’s head and hands in their home’s incinerator. However, Arthur retracted his confession which forced investigators to gather more evidence against him, which they were able to do. Some of this evidence came from the blanket Dorothy’s body was found wrapped in which the Eggers’ niece confirmed had been in their home until recently, the aforementioned blood in Dorothy’s car trunk, and spots of blood on and chunks of human bone lodged in a saw belonging to Arthur.

Arthur was executed in the gas chamber for the murder.


The gun used to shoot Dorothy and the saw used to dismember her.


Arthur demonstrates how he discarded his wife’s body.

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