It might have happened before — a television movie based on a resident of Madison County — but convicted murderer Ed Amos has the distinction of being among the first.

Amos liked to play the role of playboy, dressing in expensive clothes, wearing a Rolex watch and driving a Cadillac, according to a former family friend. Authorities believe he may have killed four people to support that lifestyle.

Amos, 63, a former executive with General Motors and 1979 candidate for the Republican nomination for Anderson mayor, was convicted in 1996 in Detroit of murdering his third wife, Roberta “Bobbe” Amos.

Amos is serving a life sentence in a Michigan prison.

He is incarcerated at the Muskegon Correctional facility, according to the Michigan Department of Corrections Web site. He was denied parole in November 2005 and will next appear before the parole board in September 2010.

The November appearance before the parole board was Amos’ first, according to Gail Madziar, spokeswoman for the Department of Corrections.

“He is at a moderate security level,” Madziar said. “It is based on his behavior in prison and cooperation.”

But the murder of his third wife might not have been the first he committed.

Anderson police investigated the suspicious death of his first wife, Saundra Heard Amos, in 1979 and his second wife, Carolyn, in 1989 in Henry County. Local law enforcement officials believe he might have killed his mother, Mary Toles, in 1998.

The movie “Black Widower” will air at 3 p.m. today on the Lifetime channel.

Amos was called a “modern-day Bluebeard” by the Michigan judge who sentenced him to life in prison.

“I think he killed more than three people,” said Anderson resident Connie Alexander, advertising director of The Herald Bulletin,. She lived next door to Ed and Saundra Amos at the time of her death.

“She was a loving, friendly person, who liked to cook,” Alexander said. “They were good neighbors.”

Alexander said Saundra told her that Amos had taken out a $1 million life insurance policy on her.

“We used to tease her that Ed would knock her off for the money,” Alexander said. “I never thought he would hurt her.”

Amos announced his candidacy for mayor Jan. 13, 1979. Eleven days later his wife was dead.

“She (Saundra) had been speaking at the Lady Elks Club meeting for Ed’s candidacy,” said Alexander, remembering the night she died.

Saundra Amos went to Alexander’s house that evening about 10 p.m. She was there until 10:30 p.m. when Amos called and said he was home early from his job at Inland Fisher-Guide.

“At 1 a.m. there is a loud knocking on the door, her two children are there and an ambulance is in the driveway,” Alexander recalled.

Saundra Amos was pronounced dead shortly thereafter, the cause never determined.

“After Ed got back from the hospital, I went to his house,” Alexander said. “He was burning her clothes in the fireplace. He said there was so much blood on them because she fell and hit her head.”

Saundra Amos was buried the next day.

“I didn’t suspect anything,” Alexander said of her friend’s death. “But then the rumor mill started. Why does a 36-year-old woman die for no apparent reason?”

Alexander said Amos used the insurance money to remodel his Anderson home and within a year married Carolyn and moved to Middletown.

“I never thought anything until after Carolyn died,” she said. “She had been out drinking with friends, comes home and decides to wash her hair.”

Carolyn Amos reportedly died in April 1989 after dropping a hair dryer in the bathtub and was electrocuted. A cause of death was never determined.

“I thought, ‘Somebody is going to catch him,’” Alexander said of Amos. “I’m glad Bobbe died in a big city. I was disappointed he was never charged in Indiana because there was so much hearsay.”

Bobbe Amos died from an overdose of cocaine that Amos administered to her while she was sleeping in a Detroit hotel.

“He dressed well, but his family and the inside of their Anderson house was not taken care of as much,” she said.

“Ed was on a mission and needed more money to maintain his lifestyle,” Alexander said. “Unfortunately he had to kill good people to accomplish that.”

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