Lawyer asks governor to release escapee captured after 48 years

CARROLL COUNTY, Ga. — The attorney for a Georgia inmate who escaped from a Carroll County prison camp and remained at large for nearly 50 years before his capture this week plans to ask Gov. Nathan Deal and the state parole board to release him.

“He knows what he did was wrong both in terms of the underlying criminal conduct and walking away from prison,” said defense attorney Norm Pattus.

The former fugitive, Robert Stackowitz, was sentenced to 17 years in prison for armed robbery and began serving his sentence in 1968. Two years into his sentence, the 23-year-old convict escaped from an infirmary at the Carroll County Prison Barracks and fled to his former home in Connecticut.

He pursued jobs as a mechanic, while living under an alias. But when he applied for Social Security he used his real name, which led to his capture by U.S. Marshals after 48 years on the run.

“He’s not doing very well. He has very significant health issues. He has heart failure, bladder cancer, diabetes and circulatory issues,” said Pattus.

The attorney argues the former fugitive has led a peaceful, and productive life and deserves to continue doing so. He said there is nothing to be gained by sending him back to prison at the age of 71 for the remaining 15 years of his sentence. He also said he would like to make an appeal to the victim.

“Fortunately, the homeowner was not seriously injured. We would appeal to him as well to let the sense of justice be tempered by mercy,” said Pattus.

Pattus said he will file papers in Georgia next week seeking a commutation of the remaining sentence and a pardon for the prison escape charge.