After 40-year manhunt, can fugitive George Wright be brought to justice?
"My grandfather never got to see his daughters grow up ... he never got to see them get married ... he never got to watch them have their children. And that was ... because of George Wright," said Ann's daughter, Terry.
By the summer of 1970, George Wright had served nearly eight years of his 15- to 30-year sentence for his involvement in Walter Patterson's murder.
George Wright GQ interview: When I walked into the jail and they closed them doors behind me ... it seemed like that I, I was closed off from the world.
Despite his crimes, in those GQ magazine tapes, Wright portrays himself as a victim of society and a champion of social justice.
George Wright GQ interview: Society would say, "Hey, you did that...it's against the law...' but people all through history, they have been struggling against the power structure ... have always been called criminals or outlaws...
"So at that time, it looks like George Wright is going to be in prison at least 15 years," Susan Spencer commented to retired FBI agent R. J. Gallagher. "Correct," he replied.
But George Wright had a very different plan.
After serving part of his time in a maximum security facility, Wright was transferred to a minimum security prison in southern New Jersey.
At the time there were no bars, no razor wire and no problem with simply walking away.
Just after the 11 p.m. bed check on Aug. 22, 1970, that's exactly what he and three others did.
George Wright GQ interview: We walked off in the night...there were, uh, guards around ...
Armed with a few tools and an audacious plan, they weren't on foot for long.
"They decided to take the warden's car and flee to Atlantic City," said investigator Dan Klotz.
"They hot-wired the warden's car? Spencer asked.
"Yes," Klotz and investigator Rick Cope replied in unison.
Mike Finkel | GQ magazine: I read that you stole the warden's car. Is that true?
George Wright: I ain't gonna make no comment on that.
Mike Finkel: I think that that is funny.
George Wright:Yeah, well, I'll bet he didn't.
Police found the car and quickly recaptured two of the men. George Wright and the fourth inmate had vanished.
"These people are walking the streets. You don't know where they're gonna go," said Ann.
As the years turned to decades with Wright still on the loose, Ann Patterson lost hope that authorities ever would find him. So she was shocked, when, 24 years after the prison escape, FBI Agent R. J. Gallagher called to introduce himself.
"He was genuinely interested in my father's case," Ann told Spencer.
"What reassurances could you give her at that point?" Spencer asked Gallagher.
"I said I would work as hard as we could and do what we could ... to find this guy," he said.
Gallagher told Ann it was a long shot. The FBI had destroyed the Patterson case file long ago and Gallagher didn't even know if Wright was still alive.
"So where did you start?" Spencer asked.
"Friends, acquaintances, relatives..." Gallagher replied. "We checked phones, we checked emails ... there was nothing that was off the table."
Suspecting Wright was overseas, Gallagher sent Interpol the fingerprints taken at Wright's 1962 arrest. He also digitally age enhanced Wright's mug shot, to show what he might look like years later.
"About half way through this, the U.S. Marshals and the Department of Corrections joined and we formed a nice team," said Gallagher.
"It was a perfect storm of investigators," said Rick Cope.
Rick Cope and Dan Klotz were on a fugitive task force also looking at the case when they teamed up with Gallagher in 2002.
"So we only had very, very minimal information on the actual original crime," said Cope.
Following the smallest of leads, often working nights and weekends, they learned that after his escape, George Wright spent time in Atlantic City and then in New York, once working as, of all things for a fugitive, a male model.
George Wright: Until I realized what I was doing ... 'cause I was ... on the run at the time.
Mike Finkel | GQ magazine: And having your picture taken.
George Wright: So that was the end of my modeling career.
Wright made his way to a house in Detroit.
"There was a bunch of people living there...it was like a family so to speak," said Klotz.
George Wright GQ interview: It was in Detroit that we became affiliated with the Black Panthers.
The Panthers had burst onto the scene in 1966 with a radical philosophy for the time: revolution militant action. Wright, along with four others, hatched a plan to leave white America behind and make an outrageous statement in the process.
George Wright GQ interview: At the time we wanted to become more active in the struggle... so that people would see that we were for real.
CBS News report: A Delta Airlines jet from Detroit to Miami was taken over by eight passengers...
On July 31, 1972, Delta Airlines flight 841 was boarding passengers in Detroit headed for Miami. Captain William May remembers seeing a priest.
"He gestured towards me with his Bible," May told Spencer. "As he went back towards his seat, I said, 'Well, a priest - nice to have him aboard.' ... We won't have any trouble with this guy."
That Bible was hollowed out with a handgun inside -- undetected by the lax security of the day.
Mid-flight, Captain May came out of the lavatory to find a passenger pointing a gun at him. Back in the cockpit was a second gunman: the innocent looking priest.
"The priest had this girl, flight attendant, around like this with a pistol pointed to her head," May explained of the gunman holding his arm around the flight attendant's neck. "And the pistol was cocked. And I said: 'Look...uncock that gun. We can talk.' ... I said, 'Now, what do you want?' He says, 'We want a million dollars and we wanna go to Algiers.' And I said, 'Algiers?' I said, 'Where the hell's Algiers?' (laughs) I said, 'This airplane won't fly to Algiers.'"
At 41, May was still a junior pilot; he'd never even flown all the way across the ocean.
CBS News report: The plane taxied to a remote area of Miami International Airport. ... One of the men was dressed as a priest.
Investigators soon identified the priest as George Wright.
Fueled by a mixture of radical politics and rage against the system, Wright was about to become one of the most wanted fugitives in America.
"Captain May made the announcement," passenger Elaine Ottevaere recalled. "That's when people started screaming."
"He terrorized the people on that plane," said Klotz.
"You don't bring a gun on an airplane and expect something good to happen," said Cope.
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