Lowell Edwin Amos (1 Viewer)


Lowell Edwin Amos

Classification: Serial killer
Characteristics: Poisoner -To collect insurance money
Number of victims: 4
Date of murders: 1979 -1994
Date of arrest: November 8, 1996
Date of birth: January 4, 1943
Victims profile: His mother and three wives
Method of murder: Poisoning
Location: Detroit, Michigan, USA
Status: Sentenced to life imprisonment without possibility of parole on October 24, 1996

Lowell Edwin Amos (b. January 4, 1943, Anderson, Indiana) is a former Detroit business man whose mother and three wives all died under suspicious circumstances.

He was convicted in 1996 of murdering his third wife, Roberta Mowery Amos. Lowell Amos was the subject of a 2006 Lifetime Network made-for-tv movie called Black Widower.

Lowell was a former General Motors plant manager. Some sources spell his first name as "Lowel".

Death of Roberta Amos

In December 1994, Lowell and Roberta Amos attended a company executive party at the Atheneum Hotel in Detroit. The Amos's went to their suite at 4:30 am. Four hours later (at 8:30 am) Lowell called Bert Crabtree, another executive from the party, and seemed to be in a panic. Crabtree and another hotel guest named Daniel Porcasi went to the room, and Lowell told them that Roberta had died in an accident.

Lowell said he needed to cleanup before calling police, and he asked Porcasi to take his sport coat for him, which he did. Porcasi, while driving home that morning looked inside the breast pocket of the coat, and found a small black leather case with a syringe without a needle, and a foul-smelling washcloth inside. Amos later reclaimed the coat, and its contents disappeared.

Amos told police that he and Roberta had engaged in sexual acts involving cocaine, and claimed she was still taking the cocaine when he fell asleep. He told police that she could not snort the drug due to a sinus problem, and that instead she took it "inside" her body. He said that when he woke up she was dead.

There was a lot of cocaine on the bed linen, including the part that was tucked under the mattress. Roberta's body contained over 15 times the lethal dose of the drug. An autopsy revealed that there was cocaine inside Roberta's vagina, but none externally. Police suspected that Amos had washed the body before calling police.

Forensic scientist Dr. Phyllis Goode found lipstick and toothmarks on a pillowcase, and other makeup residue, although Roberta did not have any makeup on her when police arrived. The bedsheets were also slightly soiled, although Roberta's body was very clean.

Investigation into previous wives', and mother's deaths

Police lacked enough hard evidence to bring charges against Lowell, so they began to follow him and look into his history. Two days after Roberta’s death, Lowell spent over one thousand dollars on dinner and drinks with two women who he proceeded to have sex with.

After the story of Roberta's death had gained publicity, several women came forward and told investigators that that they thought they had been drugged by Lowell before having sex.

Investigators found out that Lowell's first wife Saundra died under suspicious circumstances at age 36, fifteen years earlier in 1979. Saundra was found dead in her bathroom. Lowell's statement to police at that time was that Saundra had mixed wine with a sedative, collapsed, and hit her head. The cause of death was ruled indeterminate, and Amos received a $350,000 insurance payout.

Shortly after Saundra's death, Lowell married his longtime mistress, Caroline. According to friends, Lowell and Caroline argued a lot over the large insurance policies Lowell had bought on her life, and since he would not cancel the policies, she threw him out in 1988.

Lowell moved-in with his mother. His mother was rushed to the hospital just a few weeks later, seemingly stupefied. No specific diagnosis was found, and she was released. Several days later, she died.

Lowell had told Caroline over the telephone that his mother had died, when she arrived at the house Lowell was throwing his belongings into the car. He told her that he did not want people to know that he was living with his mother. Because she was 76 years old, no autopsy was performed, and authorities presumed she died of natural causes. Lowell inherited more than $1 million.

Caroline allowed Lowell to move back in with her. Nine months later she was found dead in her bathroom. Lowell's statement to police was that he’d taken her a glass of wine to the bathroom, where she was blow-drying her hair next to the full bathtub.

Later he found her dead in the bath, apparently electrocuted. No cause of death was ever determined. The wineglass that Lowell claimed to have brought Caroline was not in the bathroom, but rather found rinsed-clean and in the dishwasher. Lowell received $800,000 from the insurance policies.


On November 8, 1996, Lowell was arrested for the murder of his third wife. Due to a 1994 change in Michigan law, the prosecution was allowed to enter details of previous incidents into the trials. Prosecutors also argued that although Lowell lacked a financial motive for killing Roberta, as he had for the other three deaths, his marriage was about to end. Roberta had already bought a house of her own, and had told friends and family that she wanted Lowell out of her life.

The prosecution surmised that Lowell killed her because he couldn’t stand rejection. They said that he first gave her a glass of wine with two crushed sedatives in it, then when she was passed-out, he injected her vagina with the cocaine (dissolved in water), and then smothered her with the pillow when she began to convulse.

On October 24, 1996, Lowell was convicted of premeditated murder and murder using a toxic substance, (both considered separate charges of first-degree murder), and was sentenced to life imprisonment without possibility of parole. He is currently in security level II at the Muskegon Correctional Facility, in Michigan. Charges have not been made in the cases of the other three deaths.

Lowell Amos

Date: 1994

Location: Detroit, Michigan

Just before Christmas 1994, a group of executives was gathered at theAtheneum Hotel in Detroit for a company party. Among those present were Lowell Amos, a fifty-two-year-old former General Motors plant man-ager from Anderson, Indiana, and his wife, Roberta. After socializing with friends until 4:30 a.m., the Amoses retired.

The next morning, at 8:30, another executive, Norbert Crabtree, received a phone call in his room from Amos, who sounded agitated and pleaded for help. When Crabtree and another guest, Daniel Porcasi, reached the room, Amos dropped a bombshell: Roberta was dead.

There had been a tragic accident, he explained, and he needed time to clean up before he contacted the authorities. Could they do him a big favor? He handed over a small leather case, which he asked them to hold for him. Crabtree agreed. When he later checked, he found it contained a foul-smelling washcloth, a sport coat, and a syringe without a needle. (Although Amos later reclaimed this bag, its contents subsequently vanished.)

When Amos did call the police, he had a lurid tale to tell. After returning to their suite, he and Roberta had engaged in cocaine-fueled sex games. These lasted for some time. Roberta, he said, was still taking the coke when he fell asleep. When he awoke, he found her dead. In a panic, he’d flushed the coke down the toilet and tried to clean up the room. Investigators noticed that the bed linen was soiled and smeared, which was odd because Roberta’s body looked very clean, without any hint of make up.

When detectives pressed Amos about the cocaine usage, he explained that because of sinus trouble, Roberta didn’t snort the drug but instead found other means of ingestion. This was confirmed at autopsy, when vaginal swabs showed unmistakable traces of coke. The absence of external signs of the drug was still baffling, however, since the body contained more than fifteen times the lethal amount—so big a dose, in fact, that she’d died before even half the drug had been broken down.

This set alarm bells ringing. Acute cocaine poisoning invariably causes violent fits before death, and it seemed inconceivable that Amos could have slept through such disturbances. Besides, what was the likelihood, after his own admitted cocaine binge, that he would sleep, anyway?

It was time to examine the evidence more closely. The forensic scientist Dr. Phyllis Goode was given the bed linen for analysis. Nothing in Amos’s story accounted for the strange staining. Because the body was so clean, it was suspected that Amos had washed it before calling police. This was borne out by test samples from the pillowcase, which showed traces of cosmetics, even though, when found, Roberta was not wearing any. Even more ominous were the imprints of teeth marks and lipstick found on the pillowcase, such as might result if the pillow had been pressed over someone’s face.

Turning her attention to the sheet, Goode found coke traces all over the material, even on those parts tucked under the mattress. Although this provided clear evidence of crime scene manipulation, it was scarcely proof of murder.

While investigators struggled to unravel this mystery, Amos found a novel means of easing his grief. Just two days after Roberta’s death, he spent $1,000on dinner and drinks with two women and had sex with both. Curiously enough, it was Amos’s amorous adventures that proved his undoing. Sparked by publicity surrounding the case, various women now came forward with stories of having dated Amos, and all felt that they had been drugged before sex. These revelations prompted an in-depth examination of Amos’s back-ground. What investigators discovered was horrifying: women close to Lowell Amos had a habit of dying out of turn.

His first wife, Saundra, age thirty-six, had been found dead in the bath-room in 1979. According to Amos, she had mixed a sedative with wine, collapsed, and hit her head on the bathroom counter. Despite misgivings, the cause of death was ruled indeterminate, and Amos received a $350,000insurance pay out.

Shortly thereafter he married his long time mistress. According to friends, Caroline Amos argued constantly with her new husband over the large insurance policies he kept buying on her life, and, when he refused to cancel them, she threw him out in 1988. In a curious move, he went to live with his seventy-six-year-old mother. Just a couple of weeks later, she was rushed to the hospital, seemingly stupefied. Doctors were unable to diagnose the problem, and when she soon recovered, she went home. Each day Caroline called to check on her mother-in-law, but one day Amos answered, and he had bad news: he’d just found his mother; she’d been dead for several hours.

Caroline rushed to the house, to find Amos throwing his belongings into his car. He said that he didn’t want anyone to know he had been living with his mother. Because of her age, the death wasn’t considered suspicious, and there was no autopsy. Amos inherited more than $1 million.

Perhaps believing herself to now be better insulated against Amos’s avarice, Caroline let him back into the house. Nine months later she, too, was dead. According to Amos, he’d taken her a glass of wine to the bathroom, where she was blow-drying her hair. Later he found her dead in the bath and thought she had been electrocuted, but no cause of death was ever deter-mined. Significantly, the wineglass was missing from the bathroom and later found rinsed out in the dishwasher. Caroline’s death netted Amos another $800,000 insurance pay out.

It was a damning litany, and on November 8, 1998, Amos was arrested for murder. In 1994, Michigan had changed the law to allow details of previous incidents to be introduced into trials. This enabled prosecutors to show that although Amos had no direct financial motive for killing Roberta, his marriage was on the rocks. Roberta had already bought a house of her own and wanted him out of her life. Amos killed her because he couldn’t stand the rejection, first injecting her with cocaine, then smothering her with a pillow when the fits began. He was sentenced to life imprisonment.


MO: “Bluebeard" slayer of wives and mother for insurance

DISPOSITION: Life without parole on one count, 1996

Lowell Edwin Amos


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