I've only broken out of four prisons, but each was dramatic:

1. Utah State Prison - Pole Vault I climbed to the prison chapel roof near the perimeter fence with a 16-foot piece of irrigation pipe. It was tin and had the spring of a pole vaulting pole. The roof was level with the razor wire on the top of the fence and I was looking at a 10-feet gap between the edge and wire. I sprinted like a pole vaulter to the end of the roof, and pole vaulted over the fence to land in a roll on the ground on the other side. My getaway ride was waiting.

2. Aiken County Detention Center in SC

Thunder Kicks Finally, after days of waiting and doing leg thrusts, a thunderstorm moved in. The thunder was loud enough to mask my kicks that I matched with the lighting flashes, and counted 'One alligator…' to time the claps. The prison wall I kicked was 15" thick rebar-reinforced cinder block and red brick. In a couple of minutes, the wall began to crumble around a barred window. A minute later, the window popped. I stepped out to my waiting ride.

3. Waynesboro, GA Jail 

Out the Back Door This was an old Andy of Mayberry trick that I saw on TV and put into action. I was on the hall phone chatting with a friend when a deputy entered the back door and walked by. I handed him the phone and asked to find out how much my bail was. He took the phone, and I walked out the back door of the jail.

4. Columbia Correctional Institute (CCI) in Columbia, SC

Escape from Death Row This was my publicized escape by bending the bars on Death Row. The court had placed me on Death Row in Block 2 for my own protection. Every man on Death Row in CCI history had been executed, and the court forgot to include the paperwork that I was not to be. My execution date rolled around, and the guards began to look at me pityingly. Now for the first time I'll reveal how I escaped. My cell had inch-thick steel bars, and since I was well known I had a hacksaw blade smuggled up to me. It took thirty minutes one evening to saw a single cut through the bottom of one of the vertical bars near the floor. I bent it with kicks until it fatigued, and restored it upright with the invisible cut. The show was set. The next day, with inmates and guards as witnesses, I shouted, 'I'm not going to die!', and bent the bar with my hands before their eyes! I crawled through the opening, and leaped to a catwalk and grabbed an officer's mace. I sprayed anyone who came near, and waited for the warden. He brought an attorney named Gaston Farley, who unsealed the classified case and found the court had not ordered me to prison but on parole for a minor charge. I received an out-of-court settlement of $25,000.


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