Alfred Packer was a prospector, miner and claimed to be a seasoned guide however he never mentioned he was prone to lose his way. During the harsh winter of 1874, he led a party of five companions had attempted to travel through the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. Packer had claimed to know the mountain range like the back of his hand. Not surprisingly, they got lost and everyone, but Packer perished.
When Packer reached civilization, he claimed that he had been abandoned by his companions, but upon further questioning he confessed that the group had resorted to forced cannibalism of dead members in order to stay alive.
He later retracted that story and confessed to having been forced to live off the flesh of his companions, after they had fallen victim to party member Shannon Bell, whom Packer said he had to shot in self-defense. He confessed to having survived by eating the flesh while stranded and during his trek out of the mountains, nearly two and a half months later.
After Packer’s story was called into question, he escaped jail and hid from justice for nine years before being tried, convicted of pre-meditated murder and sentenced to death. Packer won a retrial, and was eventually sentenced to 40 years in prison, on five counts of premeditated murder.
An enduring story of presiding judge M. B. Gerry, as he pronounced the sentence of the first trial said, “Stand up you voracious man-eatin’ Republican cannibal receive your sentence. When yah came to Hinsdale County, there was seven dimmycrats. But you, yah et five of em.”
In 1968 the ALFRED PACKER MEMORIAL GRILL at the University Memorial Center, Boulder, Colorado. Was named by the students after determining it matched the spirit and the fare of the infamous Colorado Cannibal.
Their slogan is “Have a friend for lunch.”