Friday, April 24, 2015

You can't run forever.......

"I just want to get this behind me.  I want to be done," stated Clarence David Moore.

Ronnie T Dickinson, 66, called the Frankfort County Sheriff's office in Frankfort KY on April 20 2015 and told them he wanted to turn himself in.  He told the sheriff's office that he had been living there since 2009 as Dickinson but he was really Clarence D Moore and he had escaped from from prison in the 1970's.  He added that he wanted to finally return to prison because he could not afford the medical care that he now needs.

The police arrived at his home that he has lived in for several years and found Moore unable to walk, unable to speak well, partially paralyzed from a recent stroke and suffering from diabetes.  They arrested him and removed him by stretcher to begin unraveling the tale he told.  It seems that Moore had been sentenced to up to seven years in prison for theft of more than $200 in 1967.  His first escape came when he was working on a road crew in the Asheville NC area in 1971 and he was captured within hours of his running.

Moore escaped again the next year and managed to stay free until he was caught in Texas in 1975.  On Aug 6 1976, he made his final escape from the Henderson County prison and he has been on the run ever since.  He stated that he had used several aliases during that time but had been using the Dickinson one all of the time he has been in Frankfort KY.

The woman who had been living with him there was shocked to find out about Moore's past and neighbors stated that they had never suspected anything like that.  Most describe him as a quiet, private man who did little but sit on his porch and wait for his mail or talk with neighbors.  Moore was involved in a traffic accident in 2009 in Frankfort and was cited for not having a driver's license as well as having a contempt of court charge for no appearing for the court date.  Moore has waived extradition back to North Carolina and there was no report of whether the motor vehicle charges will be handled in the future.

What is obvious is that Moore did not turn himself in out of remorse or because he had gotten tired of the guilt of running all these years.  Moore has finally turned himself in so that he can now become a burden to the state by having his medical problems treated while he is in prison.  He was unable to receive Medicare because he did not have a matching social security card for the alias he has been using for years but now, he will manage to secure those checks.

Moore's crime may sound as though it doesn't fit the sentence he originally received but he was sentenced for stealing more than $200 which today would be equivalent to about $1,500.  He was sentenced to a maximum of seven years but it could have been less.  When Moore escaped the first time, he was about four years into that sentence and he most certainly tacked on extra time for the escape.  He followed that by another escape which probably lengthened his stay in prison as well.

Now he wants back behind those same walls so that he can get his medical care covered, food and lodging.  It may be behind prison walls but from the description of his condition, he would be living in a nursing home if he could afford it so prison may not seem so bad a choice for him.  I am not sure that the state of North Carolina should be forced to pay for his upkeep and maybe the best choice would be to put him under house arrest and let him use his actual SSN to get whatever care he can.

On Nov 8 1977, inmate 0283128 climbed onto the back of a yellow prison bus leaving the Triangle Correctional Center in NC where he had several other inmates were heading out for road repairs.  When the bus stopped at an intersection, Walter Miller opened the back door, jumped out and ran.  He had civilian clothes hidden under his prison clothes that he had saved from a previous time when he was working outside the prison while supervised.

Miller headed to the bus station in Raleigh NC and paid a man $10 to buy him a ticket to New York City.  He had been sentenced to 30 years in prison for a pair of bank robbery convictions, one on Aug 13 1971 and the other a year later.  Miller was looking at least another ten years in prison before parole when he ran.  Miller began a new life in NYC by changing his name to Bobby Love, forging a birth certificate and using that to get a driver's license.

He did keep in touch with family and called his sister in 1979 for her wedding.  He told her about his escape but didn't reveal any of the details of his new life.  He worked an assortment of jobs and in the mid eighties he met his future wife Cheryl while they were both working at the Baptist Medical Center in Brooklyn NY.  They were married on March 30 1985 and he invited his family to the wedding that was held in the community center.  He was 34 and identified on the marriage license as Bobby Allen Love with a DOB of 11/6/50 and she was only 21 years old and pregnant with their first child.

In the next 11 years, Miller worked hard at multiple jobs to support his wife and four children that had arrived but he never did tell her about his past.  He did ask his sister to tell his wife about it if he should die because he felt that if he told Cheryl, she would insist that he turn himself in.

Family and friends describe him as an introvert who was not paranoid or overly concerned about his past coming out.  He was active in charity work, community meetings and the Coney Island Cathedral Church and he claims that in 2004, he claimed a $50,000 Pick 5 prize from the state lottery.  While he was cautious early  on, he became bolder as time went on.  He traveled back to North carolina with his family to visit  as well as attending two funerals for two of his nine siblings.

Miller believes that it was at one of those weddings that someone recognized him and contacted the police.  He was arrested in Jan 22 2015 at his home in the Prospect Lefferts Gardens apartments and planned to fight extradition back to North Carolina.  His family did not know anything about his past prison escape or that he had been living under an assumed name all those decades.

They do hope that he can avoid going back to prison because he has shown that he could rehabilitate himself after escaping.  Many people who knew him had very nice things to say but there are cracks in that facade as well.  A former landlord, Pansi McFarlane stated that she had to evict them a few years ago and they still owed her $7,000 in rent.  She described them as anything but friendly when it came time to collect the rent.

It does not look as though Miller will be able to just walk away from prison time even with the seemingly crime free life he has lived since his escape.  He probably will have to serve at least ten years from the original sentence and faces additional time for the escape.  Sadly, even though he has shown that people can change their ways and life, he still owes the time he was sentenced to.

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