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Richard Lee McNAIR

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Robbery - Convicted criminal known for his ability to escape and elude capture
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: November 1987
Date of birth: December 9, 1958
Victim profile: A truck driver
Method of murder: ???
Location: North Dakota, USA
Status: Sentenced to life in prison in 1988
 
 
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Richard Lee McNair, (born December 9, 1958, in Duncan, Oklahoma) was serving two life sentences for murder, attempted murder, and burglary for crimes committed in North Dakota when he escaped in April 2006 from a federal maximum-security prison facility in Pollock, Louisiana.

Federal officials said he escaped by burying himself under mail bags and escaping from a mail processing facility.

The escape from the prison was McNair's third escape from custody since he was convicted in 1987, the United States Marshals Service said when it added him to its 15 Most Wanted List later that month. His other escapes included one from a North Dakota county jail in 1988, and the second in 1992 from a penitentiary there.

Hours after his escape from Pollock, McNair was stopped on a railroad track in Ball, Louisiana by police officer Carl Bordelon. Despite having no identification on him and matching the escaped-prisoner profile that had been sent to Ball police, McNair successfully convinced Bordelon that he was jogging and in town to help on a roofing project. This incident was captured on a video camera mounted in Bordelon's patrol car.

On April 5, 2006, the television show "America's Most Wanted" highlighted McNair's case, prompting approximately 50 reports to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in Western Canada, that the fugitive had been seen north of the border.

On April 28, 2006, according to the RCMP, police confronted a man in a stolen car who matched McNair's description. He spoke to officers for a moment before running away and eluding capture. When authorities examined the car, they found McNair's fingerprints and a digital camera with photos he had taken -- including a few self-portraits.

Tips continue to be reported to the RCMP.

 
 

Richard Lee McNair (born December 9, 1958, in Duncan, Oklahoma) is a convicted criminal known for his ability to escape and elude capture.

Escapes

McNair was convicted and sentenced to three life sentences for murder, attempted murder, and burglary stemming from a botched robbery attempt in 1987 at a grain elevator near Minot, North Dakota while he was a sergeant posted at the nearby Minot Air Force Base. He escaped custody in April 2006 from a federal maximum-security prison facility in Pollock, Louisiana. Federal officials said he escaped by burying himself under mail bags and escaping from a mail processing facility.

The escape from the prison was McNair's third escape from custody since he was convicted in 1988, the United States Marshals Service said when it added him to its 15 Most Wanted List later that month. His other escapes included two incidents at the Ward County jail in 1988 (one escape lasting a few hours and a later foiled attempt), and his 1992 escape from the North Dakota State Penitentiary (he was recaptured the following year and moved to the federal prison system).

Hours after his escape from Pollock, McNair was stopped on a railroad track in Ball, Louisiana by police officer Carl Bordelon. Despite having no identification on him, giving two different names and matching the escaped-prisoner profile that had been sent to Ball police, McNair successfully convinced Bordelon that he was jogging and in town to help on a roofing project. This incident was captured on a video camera mounted in Bordelon's patrol car. He proceeded to give Officer Bordelon the alias of Robert Jones. When asked again five minutes later, he gave a different alias, Jimmy Jones. Bordelon didn't pick up on this. McNair laughed and joked with the officer, even as the officer got a matching description of the inmate, McNair appeared collected and calm. Within 10 minutes McNair was back to 'jogging'.

On April 5, 2006, the television show America's Most Wanted highlighted McNair's case, prompting approximately 50 reports, to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in Western Canada, that the fugitive had been seen north of the border.

On April 28, 2006, according to the RCMP, police confronted a man in a stolen car who matched McNair's description. He spoke to officers for a moment before running away and eluding capture. When authorities examined the car, they found McNair's fingerprints and a digital camera with photos he had taken—including a few self-portraits.

Recapture

On October 25, 2007, McNair was recaptured by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, on a rural road near Campbellton, New Brunswick after he was stopped while driving a stolen vehicle. McNair was transferred to the Atlantic Institution, a federal maximum security penitentiary while waiting for extradition to the United States.

McNair (inmate ID # 13829-045) is currently incarcerated in Administrative Maximum (ADX) facility in Florence, Colorado.

Wikipedia.org

 
 


 

The Trail's Gone Cold

Richard Lee McNair is a crafty escape artist and a smooth-talking con-man who's been spotted again and again since his April 2006 prsion escape, but he always slips away.

On April 5, 2006, Richard Lee McNair escaped a federal penitentiary in Pollock, La. Later that same day, running along the railroad tracks, he managed to convince a Ball, La. police officer that although he had no ID and seemed to match the physical description of an escaped convict he was really Robert Jones, out for a 12 mile jog -- from a hotel to a roofing job. Even when he changed his name mid-story to Jimmy Jones, the officer didn't catch it.

The officers' dashboard cam was rolling the whole time, and unfortunately for the officer, that 10 minutes of video is a hit on YouTube where the public gets to watch McNair in action - cool as a cucumber charm the officer into letting him go on his way.

For the first time, that police officer, Carl Bordelon spoke with our Michelle Sigona exclusively about the day he came face-to-face with McNair. Carl says the inital look-out for the escapee, and description was completley different than the man he came across.  That's why he let him go. Carl says he questioned McNair for almost 15 minutes, and McNair had an answer for everything -- even the hot questions Carl was hitting him with. 

A Well Thought-Out Plan

McNair is a determined escape artist who was serving a life sentence at the federal prison in Pollock, La. for killing a man during a 1987 burglary attempt in North Dakota. According to Marshals, on April 5, 2006, McNair literally put himself into a package and mailed himself to freedom.

U.S. Marshals say McNair had been working in the prison's UNICOR division, where his duties in the manufacturing area included repairing old, torn mailbags.  It was a job McNair held for a long period. And Marshals believe he spent that time plotting his escape.

Investigators say that McNair put himself within a pile of several of the repaired mailbags.  The "package" was put on a pallet where it was wrapped in shrink wrap and forklifted away to be delivered to a nearby warehouse.  Once in the safety of the unguarded warehouse, cops say McNair busted out of his "special delivery" and walked through the unsecured area to freedom.

Looking back on exaclty how McNair broke out, this made Michelle Sigona want to dive in and figure out just how he did it.  Deputy U.S. Marshal Glenn Belgard, and other investigators, along with Michelle got together to create the escape pod they say McNair built himself. Investigators think it took some time to construct, and although the investigation inside the prison is on-going, that McNair had help inside the walls from others to pull off the daring escape. 

McNair enclosed himself inside a very tiny, confined area, and with the help of a breathing tube in scorching hot Louisiana weather waitied for three hours inside the contraption. No one knows how he survived so long, with such little air. Investiagtors say once some of the workers in the prison went to lunch, McNair cut himself out of the pod, and ran away to freedom.   

First Sightings

Back in April 2006, AMW tips led police to two confirmed sightings of McNair in Canada:  shopping at a Wal-Mart and checking out a video at a Blockbuster in Penticton, British Columbia.

On April 28, 2006, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in Penticton, British Columbia were alerted about a stolen car parked at the beach. When officers arrived at the scene, they noticed a man sitting in the vehicle. They approached the man and asked him to step out of the car to be questioned.

When the driver got out of the car, he took off running across a nearby field and disappeared. Officers impounded the car, but it wouldn't be until two days later that they would learn the identity of the suspect.

One of the police officers was watching AMW and saw Richard McNair's face on the television. He thought that McNair looked like the man in the stolen car, but he needed more proof.

Crime scene technicians searched the stolen car and found a major clue -- a digital camera loaded with pictures of the driver. When the officer compared the pictures on the digital camera to pictures of McNair from AMW.com, he realized the facial features matched perfectly. Forensic evidence confimed the match -- McNair was in Canada.

McNair had been taking up close and personal digital pictures of himself -- and some of the places he's been while on the run. Police say it appeared as though McNair was taking self-portraits to make a fake ID, possibly a phony passport.

Cops: This Is Not The First Time

Acccording to police, McNair has staged escapes on at least two other occasions, dating all the way back to his 1988 homicide arrest.

The first came when cops questioned him in the 1987 murder of a truck driver at a grain elevator near Minot, North Dakota.  McNair later pled guilty to the crime, which started out as a botched robbery and ended in the brutal homicide.  During the robbery and murder, another man was shot four times, but thankfully survived.

When Minot Police and Ward County Sheriff's detectives called in the active duty United States Air Force Sergeant for questioning, he tried to go to the bathroom.  Thankfully, an alert city police officer frisked him before allowing him to walk away freely.  When he did, cops say they found a concealed handgun and that McNair later admitted he planned to shoot his way out of the precinct.

Once arrested for the crime, later that day, McNair was handcuffed to a chair and left alone briefly.  Investigators say he stole a detective's lip balm and used the lubricant to squeeze his hands out of the cuffs and fled.

Police say McNair led them on a footchase through town, leaping from rooftop to rooftop.  Finally, surrounded by police on the rooftop of a downtown three-story building, cops say McNair attempted to leap to a tree branch to get away, but missed the branch and landed on the ground, hurting his back.

Ward County Sheriff's deputies foiled yet another escape plot in 1988, when McNair was being held in the Ward County jail on murder and attempted murder charges.  They say that McNair literally chipped away and removed two cinderblocks in his jail cell and had tied together his bed sheets.  But, before he had a chance to shimmy to freedom, deputies noticed the anomalies in his cell and busted McNair.

McNair seemed destined to stay behind bars after he pled guilty to the murder of the truck driver, Jerry Theis.  He was given the maximum sentence -- life -- and sent to the North Dakota State Penitentiary in Bismarck.

Again, McNair didn't seem content to stay within prison walls.  Officials say that in October of 1992, McNair escaped the state pen by clawing his way to freedom through a ventilation duct.  He remained on the loose for ten months until he was picked up in July of 1993 in Grand Island, Neb.

The North Dakota detention system deemed McNair problematic and asked him to be transferred to the federal system, where he was kept since his recapture in 1993.

Close Call

On Wednesday, April 5, just hours after the Pollock escape, McNair was actually stopped by a Ball, La. police officer.  The cop had seen McNair running alongside the town's train tracks and knew about the prison escapee.

The police officer questioned McNair, who was very calm and cool under pressure.  McNair matched a lot of the description that Ball Police had of the escapee, but they did not have a clear photo to use and no way to visually confirm identity.  McNair told the cop that he was a roofer named Jimmy Jones working on Katrina repairs and his story seemed plausible.  After about ten minutes, the Ball police officer let him go only to realize later that he had been face to face with the killer.

Cops are warning the public, saying McNair is an extremely dangerous ex-soldier who is skilled in martial arts.  He clearly is conniving and very intelligent.  They say that he should not be approached.  If, by chance, he engages someone in conversation, Marshals say he's got a tell-tale identifier.  They say that McNair has a verbal crutch and in almost every conversation, including the one with the Ball Police officer, he uses the phrases "yeah, yeah, yeah," "yep, yep, yep," or "nope, nope, nope." He's also extremely computer savvy, and even though he was locked up for almost two decades, he knows a lot about the Internet and computers.

When he escaped in 1992, McNair dyed his hair blond and let it grow out.  Cops think he may try that again.  Also in '92, investigators say McNair hopped trains to get around the country.  Since the brush with Ball Police happened so close to the town's train tracks, they say he's probably up to his old tricks.

Investigators believe that McNair has taped food and supplies to his body and he may be tied to some unsolved break-ins in Rapides and Grant Parishes in Louisiana.  Police say he has a history of carjacking and burglaries.  They are interested in any unsolved crimes where vehicles, food, weapons, cash and/or toiletries have been taken.

On Thursday, April 13, 2006, the U.S. Marshals named McNair to their 15 Most Wanted list.  They say that McNair is the first federal penitentiary escapee since 1991. 

Just a week after the announcement, Marshals set up a temporary McNair command post in southern Texas, after McNair's mother received a piece of mail from her son that was postmarked from Corpus Christi, Texas on April 15.  Marshals did not confirm any of the many sightings in the area.  But they're not taking any chances.  The U.S. Marshals, along with several Brownsville-area jurisdictions, even set up a road block on the Queen Isabella Island Bridge on Wednesday, April 19, but there was no sign of McNair.

While South Padre Island, Corpus Christi and Brownsville are all near the Mexican border, cops do not think that McNair is headed to Mexico.  They say he may not have even been in south Texas and instead could have given the letter to someone else to mail.  They stress that McNair likes to "ride the rails" and he could be anywhere.

AMW.com

 

 
 
 
 
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