Man Arrested 56 Years After Escaping Prison Has Some Extraordinarily Similarities To 'The Shawshank Redemption'
An Ohio man who spent time in the actual prison where The Shawshank Redemption was filmed was caught in Florida after 56 years on the run, according to The Washington Post. The story of Frank Freshwaters, now 79, could be a movie script, but unfortunately for him, he didn't end up on a beach in Mexico like Andy Dufresne did in the movie version. Freshwaters pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in 1957, after he allegedly struck and killed a pedestrian, according to CNN. In 1959, he was sentenced to 20 years in the Ohio State Reformatory, the filming site of the 1994 movie based on Stephen King's novella Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption. Much like Dufresne won over the warden in the movie, authorities claim Freshwaters gained the trust of officials at the prison and was transferred to a so-called "honor farm," which was where he made his escape when he was 22, according to CNN.
Freshwaters' story did not end there, according to the Post; he was arrested in West Virginia more than 15 years later in 1975, found hiding under a sink. He was working under the alias William Harold Cox at the time. But when the governor of West Virginia would not allow Freshwaters/Cox to be extradited to Ohio, he was set free, and vanished yet again, according to the Post.
Even though he remained at large for a very long time, once detectives reopened Freshwaters' case, he was not difficult to track down. The Associated Press reports Freshwaters was still using the name William Cox, living in a trailer park in Melbourne, Florida. News 13 in Orlando reported that Freshwaters was collecting Social Security checks and had a Florida driver's license.
Law enforcement officials in Florida, acting on a tip from the Cold Case unit of the U.S. Marshals office in Ohio, were able to get Freshwaters' fingerprints and match them to his file from 1957. When police finally knocked on his door and showed him a copy of his photo from 1959, Freshwaters said he hadn't seen that person in a long time, News 13 reported. Maj. Tod Goodyear of the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office claims Freshwaters admitted having been on the lam, and allegedly said, "You got me," when police arrived.
The Ohio State Reformatory was ordered closed by a judge in 1990, and provided the set for many scenes in the Tim Robbins-Morgan Freeman movie a few years later.
Images: Columbia Pictures (1)