Frank Freshwaters, ‘Shawshank Fugitive,’ Gets Parole
The convicted killer, Frank Freshwaters, who spent 56 years on the run, was caught last year but has now won his legitimate freedom. Freshwaters had been thrown in the Ohio State Reformatory, which is immortalized in The Shawshank Redemption, after violating his five-year probation. For his good behavior he was moved to a less-restrictive state prison farm. He escaped seven months later.
Freshwaters resurfaced in 1975 in West Virginia but the governor declined to extradite him because of his “flawless 16-year residency” in West Virginia. For years, Freshwaters went under multiple aliases working as a truck driver.
Authorities, however, never forgot about the “Shawshank Fugitive,” referred to “Freshwater” in court documents, and trapped Freshwaters under the name William H. Cock by making him sign papers with which they extracted his fingerprints.
Last May, the Florida police arrived at Freshwaters’ trailer with a picture of him 56 years ago. He said that he hadn’t seen that man in years, at first, but finally confessed after some questioning. He had been living off of Social Security.
Ohio’s parole board voted on Thursday on the freedom of the 79-year-old. His attorney argued that he had a clean life, raising a family and never forgetting the incident half a century old crime when he struck and killed pedestrian Eugene Flynt.
“There was wonderful support from people who knew him for many, many years. So many people wrote in, telling what a kind, generous guy he was,” said Gordon Beggs, his defense attorney. “That’s who he is today.”
One of three of Flynt’s sons fought against his release and wiped tears away after the decision was announced.
The board recommended that Freshwaters be released in late April.
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