Bloody Face

The Very First Tiger Woman

Before Carol Baskin and Joe Exotic ended up with the titles of ‘The Tiger King/ Woman,’ there was another female in the 1920s whose crime earned her the nickname ‘Tiger Woman.’ 

A Case Of Possession

This female killer captured my attention recently. After all, we have the same surname, Phillips. She was killed in the name of love. She lived with the justification as follows. 

“If I can’t have you to myself, no other female will have you.”  

Clara Phillips

However, instead of killing her husband, she decided to kill his mistress, a young bank teller. 

Fun Fact

I wonder if country singer Dolly Parton thinks about this as her husband had an affair with a bank teller.


Instead of choosing the route of murder like our killer Clara Phillips, Dolly decided to write and release a song. Good choice since, to this day, it has earned her millions. 

Love Ever After Or Close Enough

Looking back at our killer, she was still a child herself when she was swept off her feet by Armour Phillips. He was a handsome and charming man who was ambitious and aspired to become an oilman. He promised the world to Clara.  

On November 13th, 1913, the pair married. Clara was only fifteen years old, while Armour was twenty-two years old. The couple settled in California, where Clara became a chorus girl at Pantages Theatre in Hollywood and did some modelling as a “bathing beauty.” 

Clara had dark hair and a coke-bottle figure with a radiant smile. Meanwhile, Armour settled into the oil industry, where he made enough money for Clara to have servants. They invited her sister and mother to come and live with them.

Fairy Tales Don’t Last, Dearie

But life wasn’t satisfying for Clara. She was emotionally dependent on Armour, and she hardly saw him due to their conflicting schedules. Again, this was probably due to her young age. Clara decided to quit her job, so they could spend more time together.  

Horror - Abandoned

This backfired on Clara and was the start of her downfall, which led her to become a murderess. 

Armour started spending more nights away and was hardly ever home. Rumors in their community began to spiral. In town, there were whispers and murmurs that Armour had started an affair with a 19-year-old bank teller named Alberta Meadows. 

Hell Has No Fury

Alberta was born in Texas in 1903, and when she was eighteen or nineteen years old, she married her first love. He was a guy named Jesse Meadows. 

The pair were happily in love and had big dreams. Jesse aspired to become a Pastor and Alberta, a pastor’s wife. However, this dream was cut short when Jesse was killed only ten months after the pair had married. 


Now a widower, Alberta took a job as a bank teller. This is where she met Armour. This would lead to her demise and have her reunited with her husband in heaven. 

On March 7th, 1922, Alberta wrote a journal entry that predicted her death.

“Where will I be in a year from now, on March 7th, 1923? Jesse told me we would surely spend our next Christmas together, and maybe we will.”

Alberta Meadows

The fateful day was June 11th, 1922

Consumed with jealousy and rage, Clara visited a local hardware store and purchased a claw hammer. She asked the clerk if it was able to kill someone, to which the clerk replied, “yes, if you hit hard enough.” 

Claw Hammer

That night, Clara built up her courage. She visited her friend Peggy, a chorus girl, and they got drunk. Peggy was a great sounding board for Clara’s rants about Alberta. 

Later on, the pair decided to get the courage to confront Alberta about the affair she had been having. 

And The Thunder Rolls

Clara and Peggy took a taxi to the bank where Alberta worked, armed with the claw hammer. They waited for the young woman to finish her work and walk out. 

When Alberta walked out to her car, she was ambushed by the two women. They claimed they were stranded and needed a ride to Clara’s sisters’ house. 

They got to a deserted road with no one around as they were driving. Clara asked Alberta to stop the car and get out. Naturally, they could chat about how Alberta was sleeping with Clara’s husband.

Eye Of The Tiger Woman

Of course, like most women caught in this situation, Alberta denied it repeatedly. She acted shocked and haughty. Clara’s temper had reached a boiling point. She started punching Alberta.


Alberta, stunned, turned to run, but she tripped not fast enough to avoid Clara. Clara brought down the hammer on Alberta over and over again. 

The final act before Alberta stopped moving was to maim her with a giant rock to the face. The injuries left Alberta looking as if a tiger had mauled her. This is how Clara got the nickname ‘Tiger Woman.’

The Story Goes…

Clara calmly asked Peggy to drive her home. Upon her arrival, Clara, drenched in Alberta’s blood, confronted Armour telling him the truth. She had killed Alberta.

The young man refused to be convicted as an accessory to murder. After Clara’s confession, he turned her to the police. She accused him of her doing for having an affair with Alberta in the first place. 


Clara was arrested on July 17th, 1922, and was sentenced to a trial. They tried everything on the poor woman, from accusing Peggy of murder to a defence of insanity.  

Finally, on November 16th, 1922, Clara was sentenced to 2nd-degree murder and handed a sentence of 10 years to life. Clara only served thirteen years and was released in 1935. 

Clara remarried and moved to San Diego. She started a career as a dental assistant, which was a trade she learned in prison. 

Paula Phillips

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