Jake went over everything in his head,” Go in, get the money, check for valuables and get out, no bloodshed!” Countless times before he had made himself the promise of no blood shed, each time he would find a reason to break this promise. Jake would travel the country, working with the railroad when he could, burglarizing homes during his off time. Jake would stalk the different houses he saw, making mental notes concerning the daily routines of their inhabitants. Initially, it was about the money, plain and simple. However, Jake began to give in to the violent impulses that compelled him. The bitter rage that dwelled within him replaced the basic human need for money. Jake developed a hatred for the people that had hated him ever since his earliest memories.
With the patience of a monk, Jake watched the house at 1007 South 21st Street as he had for the better part of two weeks. Having gathered everything he needed to know he decided that today, October 30th was the time to strike. As he peered into the window of the home, he considered aborting the mission, but that thought soon dissipated as his hunger pangs were clearly audible to himself and anyone else within earshot. While waiting on just the right time, Jake thought of his past victims and laughed to himself. “No, please, no!” The cries of his victims rang loudly in his head. To anyone else these screams of terror would have invoked immediate feelings of remorse, but not to Jake. Jake just laughed and whispered to himself, “I hate them Crackers.”
The time had come for him to act. With the stealth of a cat, he cross the street to his victim’s house, passing the mailbox with Kludt neatly written on it, he ducked into a row of bushes that grew against the house. He thought about the rouse he would use to gain entry. “Deliveryman,” he said out loud. Then suddenly, as if an epiphany had come upon him, Jake stripped down to his underwear. As he disrobed Jake spotted an ax inside of the doorway of the shed. Jake grabbed the ax, dressed in nothing but underwear, preceded to the door of the unsuspecting Kludts.
The house was occupied by Bertha Kludt, age 53 and her 17 year old daughter Beverly June Kludt. Disregarding any previous vows of nonviolence, Jake hacked Bertha & Beverly June to death mercilessly. The unmistakable shrieks of women being killed came from the house and alerted the neighbors. As a result, the police arrived as Jake was attempting to leave through the back door carrying his shoes.
“Freeze,” the officers yelled the familiar command. Unwilling to go without a fight, Jake lunged at one of the officers with a knife, delivering him a superficial wound. The second officer attempted to ease in behind the occupied assailant, but Jake wheeled around and cut this officer also. As back up arrived, the police regained their composure, beat Jake into submission and arrested him.
During the ride to county hospital to have Jake treated for his wounds, the officers began to question him regarding the murder of the Kludt women. At the outset, Jake adamantly proclaimed his innocence. Simultaneously, as if it had been staged, Jake and the police looked down at the prisoner’s soiled apparel. Blood and brain matter covered Jake’s clothing, thereby diminishing any remaining pleas of innocence.
Homicide detectives assigned to the case listened as Jake told them how his only intention was to burglarize the home. He explained that Bertha Kludt appeared suddenly and tried to stop him whereas he hit here with the ax, causing her death. Beverly June came to her mother’s aid, he killed her. While being questioned Jake admitted to police that he had an extensive arrest record. He gave account of a life of incarceration in Michigan, Iowa and Utah that totaled 31 years. Most astonishingly, he told law enforcement how he had actually stalked and killed dozens of white women in dozens of states throughout the 1940s.
Jake’s trial began on November 24th 1947 and lasted almost three days. A request by Jake to defend himself was denied by the judge and a public defender was appointed. Jake attempted to recant his confession as his attorney claimed it was given under duress due to Jake’s accusation that the officers beat the confession out of him. The judge admitted the evidence and on November 26th the jury deliberated for 35 minutes and returned with a guilty verdict. Judge Edward D. Hodge sentenced Jake to death by hanging.
Jake’s execution at the Washington State Penitentiary was scheduled for January 16, 1948. In an effort to gain a reprieve, Jake again brought up facts concerning the murders of 44 others. He had explained to the law enforcement community that he would be willing to help them solve these cases if he were granted this stay of execution. Washington governor Monrad C. Wallgren granted him a 60-day reprieve. Police from other states interviewed Jake, and eleven murders were substantiated. He was knowledgeable enough about the 33 other murders to be considered a prime suspect. The interviews with Jake enabled the police departments of many states to declare many unsolved murders as solved. In addition to his Washington state murders, he apparently had killed people in Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wisconsin. He mostly preyed on Caucasian women. In each case, Jake killed his victims with an axe or hatchet
Before being led to the gallows, Jake was given a chance to speak. During this time, he gave a 20 minute monologue. During this time he placed a hex on everyone involved with the trial. Ironically, Judge Hodge died of a heart attack within a month of sentencing him to death. An officer that took his 1st confession as well as one of the officers that took his 2nd confession both experienced untimely deaths. The same fate fell upon the court’s chief clerk, and one of Jake’s prison guards.
The anger and rage that had once fueled this individual was extinguished. With no more stories to tell and no more hexes to throw. The gallows of Washington state prison at Walla Walla saw the depraved life and wicked times of Jake Bird ended by way of the hangman’s noose on July 15, 1949. Thus ends the story of Jake Bird, the original angry bird.