Arthur Ross Brown

Arthur Ross Brown had a long criminal record and was in the midst of a crime spree when he kidnapped, raped, robbed, and murdered Mrs. Wilma Allen, the wife of a prominent Kansas City auto dealer, on August 4, 1955. Allen was murdered in Kansas, across the border from where she was abducted.

Brown had arrived in Missouri, home of his ex-wife and daughter, the previous day. He had been in Wyoming, where he had shot a police officer. On August 4, he decided to commit a robbery and selected Allen as his victim because she looked wealthy.

Brown fled after the killing. Wilma Allen’s body was found in a Kansas field on August 8. Local police and FBI officials were unable to develop leads in the case, which remained unsolved for months.

On November 14, Brown was arrested in San Francisco on separate charges. Once in custody, he confessed to killing Allen. Later that month, he was charged in federal court with Lindbergh Act violations, which made this a capital case.

Brown’s trial in federal district court in Kansas City began on January 23, 1956. He was prosecuted by United States District Attorney Edward Scheufler, who had convicted Hall and Heady on similar charges two years earlier. Brown was convicted two days later and sentenced to death.

Arthur Ross Brown was executed in the gas chamber at Missouri State Prison in Jefferson City on February 24, 1956.

Kansas City Times, February 24, 1956

Author: Bill Lofquist

I am a sociologist and death penalty scholar at the State University of New York at Geneseo. I am also a Pittsburgh native. My present research focuses on the history of the death penalty in Allegheny County (Pittsburgh), Pa. This website is dedicated to collecting, analyzing, and sharing information about all Allegheny County cases in which a death sentence was imposed. Please share any questions or comments, errors or omissions, or other matters of interest related to these cases or to the broader history of the death penalty in Allegheny County.

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