Monday, January 21, 2013

Cracked Article: 5 Insane Prison Escapes You Won't Believe Actually Worked

So my first Cracked article is live!

If you can't tell, I'm really damn excited. If anyone found the article interesting, check out some rejected entries below. I've included a brief description of the escape and why the Cracked editors didn't care for it.

--Danny Ray Horning Rambos the PoliceIn 1992, Danny Ray Horning was a convicted murderer (he killed a marijuana dealer) and bank robber. Horning decided he didn't want to serve his four consecutive life sentences and walked out of the Arizona prison while dressed as a medical technician; he put on a medical smock and just walked out of prison, not stopped by anyone. A regular mountain man, Horning eluded capture for 52 days, committing more robberies and kidnappings during the 52 days he was free. He also left the police notes and tape recordings taunting them, which didn't really work out for him.

The police compared him to Rambo, noting that he eluded them using military-taught survival sills. He walked in figure-eights to throw off bloodhounds, constantly doubled back, only traveled in the daytime to leave no tracks and left investigators various notes bragging about how easy it all was. The entire time locals started looking at him as an almost folk-legend. After he was captured, he laughed and said escaping from prison was so easy he would probably do it again.

Why it didn't make the cut: His escape wasn't what made his story crazy, it was how he eluded authorities for so long.

--Dillinger breaks out of "escape proof" jail using a wooden gun
Infamous bank robber John Dillinger broke out of jail twice. The first time his gang busted him out, mowing down the sheriff guarding Dillinger. The second time Dillinger whittled a wooden gun from the shelf in his cell. He blackened it with shoe polish and then aimed it at the guards; Dillinger ended up taking seventeen men hostage with that wooden gun. He actually used one of the deputies to lure the guards back, then forced each one into his cell. As a final F.U., he stole the sheriff's brand new car and left, laughing at how a wooden gun beat an entire sheriff's department.

Why it didn't make the cut: His escape was actually too badass, rather than too stupidly obvious.

--Ralph "Bucky" Philips cuts through prison ceiling with a can opener
Bucky Philips was worried his 90 day sentence would be extended by months, or even years, so he cut through the kitchen's ceiling with a can opener. As ludicrous as that sounds (everyone knows that ceilings don't have circular, metal tops!) it worked and he escaped and was on the run for a few weeks before he was apprehended. Since then he has planned another escape involving a dummy of himself, but this was discovered under his bed.

Why it didn't make the cut: Not sure, but it probably just wasn't on the same level as what was accepted.

--John Killick Escapes When His Girlfriend Steals Him a Helicopter
Killick was in prison and his girlfriend, Lucy Dudko, wasn't happy with the arrangement. She hijacked a helicopter and had it land in the prison's exercise yard to pick Killick up. They flew off under a hale of bullets and were caught 45 days later while napping in a cabin.

Why it didn't make the cut: They only wanted one helicopter escape and Vassilis Palaiokostas definitely stole that show.

--Antonio Ferrara
In 2003 Ferrara was serving time in Fresnen Prison when he decided enough was enough. The Italian gangster got tired of being in prison so he did what anyone would do in his position: besiege the fucking compound.

A half dozen of Ferrara's men showed up one morning and began firing on the walls of Fresnen Prison with rocket launchers. While the guards were dealing with the small distraction of "oh shit, there are rockets here" Ferrara used a stick of dynamite he'd obtained to blow open the doors of his cell. He walked out of the prison and when guards tried to stop him his men provided cover fire with sniper rifles. His men were so prepared that some had dressed as police and come earlier in the day to get a look at the place, then returned in a hail of explosions that the Joker would have approved of.

Why it didn't make the cut: Used in a previous article, and too badass rather than stupid.

--Anthony Sowell (Cleveland Strangler) Waits in His House, Police Ignore Him
Between May of 2007 and September of 2009 he killed eleven women. On October 29th, following a report of rape, police arrived at his home with a warrant and Sowell was arrested two days later.

The Ridiculous

But just two weeks before the cops went to Sowell’s house, a man called police when he saw Sowell standing naked in the bushes next to his house. On the ground in front of Sowell was a naked woman, bloodied and beaten. Police arrived two hours later and did not even interview Sowell.

It took five complaints over a year’s time, each involving violence and rape, before police investigated Sowell.

Why it didn't make the cut: The editors changed the angle from "Could have been captured but wasn't" to "Escaped from prison/jail."

--Steve Wright (Suffolk Strangler) Doesn’t Know His Own Neighborhood
Steve Wright was a frequent customer of prostitutes and brothels throughout his life. Five prostitutes in Ipswich, Suffolk, England went missing over the course of six weeks in 2006. Wright was found guilty of all five murders and eventually sentenced to life imprisonment.

The Ridiculous

But he could have been caught before that. Wright was stopped by police after the first two girls has gone missing. He was driving around the town’s red light district looking for another victim when the officers stopped him. When the police asked him why he was in the area, he said he couldn’t sleep and was unaware it was the red light area (he lived within walking distance). After the lie worked, he went on to murder three more women.

So the police either A) didn't look at his license to see his address or B) did and had such a poor grasp of the area they were patrolling that they didn't notice he lived two blocks away, thus letting his lie work. Nice.

Why it didn't make the cut: They wanted something bigger than just not checking an address.

--Henry Louis Wallace
Between 1990 and 1994 Wallace killed a total of eleven women in Charlotte, North Carolina. After his first murder in early 1990 the police questioned him regarding the death, but was never charged. But that’s not what we’ll focus on; instead we’ll flash forward to February 4th, 1994. Wallace has already killed five to seven women by this point. What was so important about Feb. 4th though was that this was the day Wallace was arrested. For shoplifting.

At the time, police didn’t think the string of murders was related and weren’t working significant leads (Wallace knew every single one of his victim’s through his work or his girlfriend’s work). He was released the same day, and two weeks later killed again.

Why it didn't make the cut: The editors wanted to revamp the pitch to prison/jail escapes rather than "we had him right in our hands!"

--Brian Nichols
In 2005 Nichols was transported to a courthouse awaiting trial. Nichols' guard was Cynthia Hall, a 51 year old, 5'2 deputy. Nichols, who was over 6'0 tall and 200 lbs., had been busted just two days earlier for having shanks in his shoes. Because of the size difference another deputy urged Hall three different times to officially request a second guard but Hall refused every time. Nichols was in regular clothes rather than a uniform, and despite the incident with the shanks (TWO DAYS EARLIER) Hall allowed Nichols to not have his leg shackles on. When she got him to his cell and took off his handcuffs, he knocked her to the ground and took her gun.
Nichols went on to murder the judge presiding over the case, a reporter, a cop and a U.S. customs agent while free before surrendering to SWAT after he'd held a woman hostage in her home.

Why it didn't make the cut: Editors felt that he just attacked the guard and there wasn't anything obvious here.

No comments:

Post a Comment