The Anniston Star from Anniston, Alabama on December 5, 1993 · Page 9
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The Anniston Star from Anniston, Alabama · Page 9

Anniston, Alabama
Issue Date:
Sunday, December 5, 1993
Page 9
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Alcatraz From Page 1 It was the gangster era and the bad guys were big, big celebrities. Alvin Karpis, Baby Face Nelson, . Ma Barker and her boys, John Dillinger, Bonnie and Clyde, all household names. Hoover felt the nation needed a ?rison as notorious as its criminals, he Bureau of Prisons picked Alcatraz island. ALCATRAZ opened in 1934 with Al Capone in the first shipment of prisoners. The place was chilly, forlorn, often shrouded with fog. The rules said no candy, no newspapers, no parole. One tier of cells had a commanding view of San Francisco shimmering across the bay. The view was depressing, a glistening jewel perpetually out of reach. Alcatraz, everyone said, was escape-proof. At the 6 a.m. cell check on June 12, 1962, the Anglin brothers weren't stirring from their cots. Neither was Frank Morris down In cell 138. An officer unlocked one of the cells, reached In to awaken the steeping con and gasped. A crude dummy wh In the cot, the head made of planter and paint, with human hair punted to Iti scalp, pillows for the body. Same thing In the other two cells. THE CELL ventilation holes had been widened, then filled with putty to look natural. The eonvlels' trail led Into a utility pipe tunnel end out a ventilation, shaft atop the tollhouse. From there, they shimmied down a drain pipe, and went evef two !1 foot fentm Steep eliffs blocked Ihe view from the gun lowers. The tide was running away from the island there from 1 am to 8 am in Cell 140, next to Moms, was Allen West: A shakedown of Ihe eeilhouse quiekly shewed Ihe 4 iHttohiek concrete around his vent was carved out, loo lie told authorities that he was supposed to io with the ethers but he couldn't fit through his vent: He finally got out hours later, only to gel stuck en the reef heeayse a guard wouldn't turn his gage from the escape route: At the first sign of dawn, he crept back down to his cell and waited for the inevitable: West, a prison painter, told authorities they had gnawed through the concrete with spoons, covered their preparations in the utility corridor and atop the cellhouse with blankets he used as paint drepelothS: He said he sewed together a crude raft from prison rnmcoats. BEFORE departing for a long stretch In solitary, West said only the four of them were In on the plot. And he said the plan was to go to the mainland, steal a car end take ff wherever the road led. West died In Florida State Prison at Ralford In 1978 after getting piiroled, then getting Into trouble In Florida. He never changed his story. On June 17, 1962, a floating plastic bag full of names and addresses of people the Inmates intended to contact was found bobbing near the Golden Gate Bridge by the Coast Guard. James rrv Family ofEuna Presley In appreciation for the prayers, flowers, and food received. A special thank you to Dr. Barrel! and Dr. Shaikh, the RMC Hospital staff, Rev. Bill Green, Rev. Calvin Gravel, the churches and members, family and friends, Gray Brown Sendee. We thankyou. ! Gloria Waugh, Betty The Daughters La This year, you can give him more than a tie without losing your shirt. Our best selection ever! 140 famous La-Z-Boy Reel iners In Stock Reserve Yours Now For Best Selection And Free Holiday Delivery 1700 nvfr.r Bennett, director of the federal Bureau of Prisons, said it was convincing proof that the men had drowned. The hunt wound down. The men were presumed dead. And with that, the myth of the invincible Alcatraz was preserved. Thomas Kent is an Alcatraz - alumnus. He was on The Rock at the time of the escape and says West lied to throw the police off the trail and to protect fellow cons dozens of them ,who played support roles in the breakout. HE HAS come forward now, he says, to set the record straight. He told his story to a nationwide audience-for the first time on a special recent broadcast of "America's Most Wanted." He's writing a book and has been paid $2,000 in expenses by "America's Most Wanted" for his assistance in recreating the story. Kent says he dropped out of the escape because he couldn't swim but was one of a handful of inmates who helped guide the conspirators. Part of his role was transporting messages and smuggling Items through his job In the prison library. "There were eight In the 'Inner circle,' and 1 am the last one left alive," Kent told The Miami Herald In an Interview. In alt, he said, 38 other inmates played roles In the breakout and 100 more knew something about It. They all respected West for taking the blame, sparing them. "He told so many lies to the FBI and the warden," Kent said. "If he hadn't, we'd all have been charged." . .' The escape plan was enagain, effagain work with some of the eight being out of the lineup for months while they were in solitary confinement for one offense or another, Kent said. Among the new facts Kent has eentributed to the record: The digging was done during the music hour, when inmates would practice: Fellow eons look up instruments to mask the noise and settd messages - a certain song would signal trouble, alerting the plotters to gel back to their cells: t Instead of using spoons to dig eut the walls, the conspirators made a drill from a vacuum eleanef motor: The raincoat pontoen raft wasn't sewn crudely, as West led authorities to believe: It was pre fessionally sewn in the shops and treated with waterproof glue, (hen smuggled in pieces into the cellhouse: Clarence Anglin had an old girlfriend lined up to meet them on shore near Tlburen and drive them to Mexico. From there, they were to head to South America. The Inmates learned Spanish from a Berllti selftaught book. Prison "records Independently confirm Morris bought the book. And Kent says he ordered Spanish books for the library collection to help tutor them. Jolean Bubyak, an author whose father was the warden on duty; the night of the escape, has written two books about Alcatraz. She says some of what Kent says Is new and probably true. Don DiNevI, psychology teacher and author of "Riddle of the Rock," about Alcatraz, is more skeptical. He believes that little in Kent's revelations Is significant. V-l Brown, Jane freston of Euna Presley ALE Hwy. 78 East 831-7663 rt.- Atahama ' l-S30-239-2SS "Kent's testimony has shed new light," said Dave Branham, spokesman for the Marshals office. "It gives strong credence to the probability that they did escape. "THE STUFF about learning Spanish is new. And the story confirms some suspicions about the -Anglin brothers maybe having a girlfriend who assisted." Back in Ruskin, the Anglins' eldest brother doubts they will ever turn up. "I want to believe that they made it," said George Robert Anglin Jr., 67. "If they'd just send some kind of proof that they did." Family members wonder sometimes whether they have.. In the 1960s,, mother Rachel USA w Womon'Q Casual Shoos J ( 1 ; . 'e'' I Ruit "V "tf - buy"' I X ! i t'-vs. Traditional Me- I ,V J . - V " -'-.buekleeasual I it' mm gvm i- . made f sR I . LLfCy '8ufflatd Retail 'B9.BB" .' I Shop Martln'i 8hoo Department! Great Christmas Gift Ideas Sale Prices Good Sun., Dec. 6th, through Sun., Dec. " '- ' )',,' .nTrn,' ;;; ;'r". ..... ! .' ...... l' . ' vr-:: ,,York" a ,, Two-tone leather sf saddle oxford. . . . . X222 Mj USA Dirty BuckBrown Suggested Retail '66.95 Dark Brown Tan Brass Suggested Retail '62.95 At,1 . Black Burgundy Tan Suggested Retail '66.95 4 Anglin, and some of her daughters would occasionally receive unsigned poNt cards and Christmas cards. Once a card came signed "Jerry" and another "Jerry and Joe," Anglin said. Sometimes the Ehone would ring and all that could e heard was breathing on the other end. "I suppose all that could have been pranks, but maybe it was my brothers," Anglin said. AND ROBERT recalls other unusual events. In 1987, when matriarch Rachel Anglin died, "there were people who came around to the funeral that we never knew before," including two strange-looking women in (o) 4 . "Trok" Laup ual fflad of handwn leather, Al available m "Tfail" in fut: J "Trooper1 Handsewn leather boat shoe with a non-skid sole. t "V VT- "Barry" Leather lace-up comfort casual shoe. 3v ,.-rT'-f,iy C'iln.W n Sunday, heavy makeup. And when patriarch George Robert Anglin Sr. died in 19K0 at age 92, two strangers in beards showed up at the funeral home. "They ... stood in front of the casket looking at the body a few minutes, - they - wept, - then - they walked out," Anglin said. Maybe Clarence and John. Maybe FBI agents. Who knows? The demise of Alcatraz was well in the works before the escape. It was very expensive to maintain and the corrosive salt air was taking its toll on the once-invulnerable fortress. Less than a year after the trio were said to have dug their way out 12th ii r rivi i j i j v lj i m i j 4 Mpii'q RaQiml Shnfifi I m mil Shop Martin's Shoe Department! Great Christmas Gift Ideas Sale Prices Good Sun., Dec. 5th, through Sun., Dec. 12th December 5, 1993 Page 9A with spoons, 'the prison was closed and abandoned. The pontoon raft was never found. Nor were any of the three bodies. Federal officials say that in the mid-to-late 1960s and into the J 970s there" were" six or seven " sightings reported of the Anglin brothers, all in north Florida or Georgia. None was ever confirmed. If the Anglins are alive somewhere, John is 63 and Clarence is 62. And if you're reading this, John and Clarence, your big brother Robert has a message: "There's never a day that goes t y that 1 don't think about them." Your Ghbic& 7 " Marin" Glaigie T8tfap I Hub! vO'-f' . i I Tan -T'l'' "I I Riee I uted Retell S82M I II M ll I Buggeeted Retail 82M I

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