Carl Ferdinand Feigenbaum
In April 1896, Carl Ferdinand Feigenbaum was executed at Sing Sing Prison in New York. Upon leaving the execution, his attorney, William S. Lawton, stated that he believed Feigenbaum to have been Jack the Ripper.
Evidence about Feigenbaum’s life is quite minimal, and he often lied to police. He was German-born, and worked as a sailor for much of his life. He may or may not have been married and had children. He arrived in the United States in the early 1890s, and killed his landlady, Mrs. Julianna Hoffman, in 1894. He was put to death for Hoffman’s murder.
According to Lawton, Feigenbaum had confessed a desire to mutilate and kill every woman he saw. Lawton stated that Feigenbaum put on an act of insanity or mental weakness regularly, and had confirmed that he was in London on the dates of at least two of the Ripper killings. Lawton’s co-counsel disagreed with Lawton’s belief that Feigenbaum was the Ripper.
Author Trevor Marriott reinvestigated Carl Ferdinand Feigenbaum in his 2005 book, Jack the Ripper: the 21st Century Investigation. Marriott believed that the killer was a seaman, sailing into port, killing and leaving rapidly. He goes on to connect a number of other Ripper-like murders in Europe and the Americas, noting that the murders ceased after Feigenbaum’s execution.
While Feigenbaum was witnessed killing Hoffmann, the evidence that he was Jack the Ripper is quite scarce. It’s unclear if he even spoke English well, and there is no confirmation that he was present for the Ripper killings or any possibly linked killings. In addition, Marriott’s attempt to link together a range of murders produces several clear challenges, including logistics and evidence of other motives or actions. Some of the murders listed were not, in fact, murders, but accidental deaths, or clear crimes of passion.