Fugitive Who Turned Himself in After 33 Years Is Granted Parole

under Crime Stories, Personal Injury

By Julia Cole, Junior Editor

A man who turned himself in last fall after escaping from a Maryland prison more than 30 years ago has been granted parole, according the Washington Post.

Anthony Rackley, who is now 63 years old, turned himself in to police in Oklahoma last year, admitting that he had escaped from the Maryland prison system in 1980 with about six years left on his sentence.

Rackley originally went to jail at age 18 for armed robbery and a parole violation, then fled from a pre-release program years later. He traveled around the country for a few years before eventually settling in Oklahoma in the early 1990s, where he started a new life under the alias Jack Watson. He became a fundraiser for a Lions Club chapter and, for all intents and purposes, turned his life around.

Rackley eventually divulged the truth about his fugitive status to a colleague, who then used that information to blackmail Rackley. That man allegedly demanded that Rackley provide him with an increased share of the money they raised for the Lions Club and threatened to report Rackley to the authorities if he refused to comply. Last November, Rackley decided that enough was enough and opted to surrender himself to the police rather than continue to succumb to the extortionist’s demands.

He placed a call to Oklahoma police and confessed to escaping from the Baltimore prison system decades earlier. He waited in Oklahoma County jail until February, when he was extradited to Maryland while officials decided what to do about the remaining six years of his sentence.

Rackley’s age and history of good deeds back in Oklahoma were the deciding factors in officials’ decision to grant the fugitive’s release. Chairman of the Maryland Parole Commission David R. Blumberg stated that Rackley had been a model citizen who stayed out of trouble and was productive with his time. He did not pose a threat to society and had cleaned up his act.

Rackley is expected to be released within the next few weeks. He plans to return to Oklahoma as soon as officials are able to arrange for him to the supervised there.

Although it is certainly unusual for a fugitive to turn himself in after so much time on the lam, Rackley did not beat the record for longest on-the-run Maryland fugitive to be recovered.

As a firm that protects the rights of the accused, Price Benowitz heartily supports the decision by Maryland officials to release Anthony Rackley. He has clearly atoned for the mistakes he made in his youth by spending his time in the free world doing charitable work and leading a productive life. Luckily for Rackley, the state of Maryland understands that he has been rehabilitated and that there is no need for him to serve the remaining years of his prison term. Sadly, this is not always the case in many states.

If you have been charged with a criminal offense, or if you are trying to clean up your record post arrest and charge, our legal team can provide you with dedicated legal counsel. Call today to schedule a free, initial consultation.