Alfred was born Boston City Hospital on February 6, 1956. to Josephine Barnum and Freddie Trenkler. Josephine Barnum, is a descendant of P.T. Barnum's brother, William. Alfred's mother skated in the Ice Cascades where she met and married Alfred's father, Freddie Trenkler.
Alfred's parents divorced in 1960 and his mother married Jack Wallace in 1961. They had a son David born in October 1962 who is Alfred's step-brother and has been a strong advocate on Alfred's behalf. Prior to his death Jack Wallace, Alfred's step-father spent countless hours working on Alfred's case trying to help overturn his conviction.
Alfred started living with his mom and Jack right after they were married, moving to Whitelawn Ave in Milton in 1962. He spent his childhood with his mom and step dad and moved from home around 1981 when he started to house sit for a local real estate company. Alfred lived at various locations in the Boston and South Shore areas around Boston, living in Brookline, and West Roxbury, South Boston, Milton, Quincy and Hull.
Alfred went to Milton Academy, the Park School, and Thayer Academy, from which he graduated in 1975. Alfred went to Wentworth Institute of Technology from 1975 until 1977, attended Northeastern University suburban campus as well as Northeastern University's Boston campus in 1978 and 1979.
Alfred worked at Analog devices from 1977 until 1981, returning to Wentworth Institute to obtain his BS degree. He left prematurely for financial reasons and freelanced as an engineer for a local TV station, Boston Catholic TV, for the Archdiocese of Boston from 1981 until 1986.
Alfred worked as an independent consultant for several companies and formed his own communications company AWT Associates during the time between his graduation from Wentworth Institute and his 1993 indictment. During 1991, Alfred was the owner of ARCOMM, a company which installed and maintained large microwave antenna systems.