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  • Writer's pictureRobin Lyons

On The Run

In 1968, someone spotted the teenager placing a chalk mark outside a family’s home. The next night a group of teenagers threw homemade firebombs through the living room window where a 72-year-old woman sat in her easy chair watching TV. The flames ignited her clothing. Admitted to the hospital with severe burns, she never left, dying two months later.

Through questionable methods by today’s standards, officers took a group of teens to the police station for questioning. Without counsel, the teenage boys each told their side of the incident. At the conclusion of the questioning, the police formally charged them with capital crimes.

The court found all guilty and handed down sentences from ten years to life without parole for the teen that had placed the chalk mark the evening before the firebombing. They all filed appeals based on the teens not having counsel during questioning and for other matters. Some won the appeal for a new trial, but not the boy with the life sentence.

Two years after his sentencing, in 1971, the court granted the boy with the life sentenced permission to attend his grandmother’s funeral—it was the last time law enforcement saw him until 49-years later.

He’d assumed a different name and had been working as a pharmaceutical salesperson until 2020, when a pharmacy reported pills missing. Surveillance video showed him stuffing the pills into his pocket. He later admitted to stealing the pills. When the local police submitted his fingerprints to the FBI’s Next Generation Identification system, the result showed he’d been on a FBI Wanted List since 1971. Check out this post for more information on the FBI’s Next Generation Identification (NGI) system… Identifying Criminals

He will resume his life sentence and face trial for the embezzlement and unlawful dispensing of prescription medication in the state where he’d been working, as well as charges for his escape all those years ago. #firebomb #ontherun

Be sure to email me if you hear of a true-crime you think would be good in a book. I’ll research it, share it and possibly use it one of my novels.

Source: Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, FBI, ABC 12 News, Inside Edition

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