Advertisement

The notorious Briley brothers, the convicted murderers who escaped...

PHILADELPHIA -- The notorious Briley brothers, the convicted murderers who escaped while waiting to die in Virginia's electric chair, were arrested without incident Tuesday night by federal authorities, the FBI said.

The FBI said Linwood Briley, 30, and his brother James, 27, were captured at a North Philadelphia residence.

Advertisement

'They have both admitted their identities. Both have the appropriate marks and scars so there is no question as to their identities,' said John Hogan, a spokesman for the FBI.

The Brileys, awaiting execution for 11 murders, escaped May 31 from the Mecklenburg Correctional Center in Boydton, Va., with four other inmates in the biggest deathrow escape in U.S. history.

The brothers were the last of the fugitives to be captured.

The Brileys were convicted of a spree of murders, rapes and robberies in the Richmond, Va., area in 1978 and 1979.

Linwood Briley was scheduled to go to the electric chair in August. James, one of the few convicts in the United States to receive two death penalties in a single murder trial, has yet to have his execution date set.

The six inmates escaped by taking hostages and faking a bomb threat.

Advertisement

Two of the convicts were captured June 1 in Warrenton, N.C. and the other two June 8 in Vermont.

The search for the Brileys had extended from Virginia to Canada where they had been reported seen in the past few days.

The Briley brothers, along with accomplices, terrorized Richmond with a series of murders, rapes and armed robberies in the late 1970s.

Prosecutors described them as young toughs who wanted no witnesses to their crimes and maintained a lifestyle that included keeping a boa constrictor, piranhas and a pack of dogs as pets in their city home.

Linwood Briley, 30, sentenced to death in September 1979 for the murder of Richmond disc jockey Johnny 'Johnny G' Gallaher, is scheduled to be executed Aug. 17.

No execution date has been scheduled for James Briley, 28, sentenced to death for capital murder during robbery and capital murder during rape.

James Briley was sentenced to death for the robbery and murders of Judy Barton, 23, and her 5-year-old son, Harvey. She was pregnant at the time of the attack.

Their youngest brother, Anthony, was convicted and sentenced to severallife terms for his participation. An accomplice, Duncan Meekins, turned witness for the prosecution and was sentenced to life for the murder of Harvey Wilkerson, Ms. Barton's common-law husband.

Advertisement

Linwood Briley, described as the gang leader, also got seven life sentences for his role in 11 murders and robberies to which police linked him and his two brothers.

Motives for the killings were not clear. But prosecutors had suspected that Linwood Briley, who served prison time for a break-in, vowed he would never return behind bars and wanted to leave no witnesses to his crimes.

One informer even told police the Brileys wanted to earn a reputation as killers so they could become professional hit men.

Latest Headlines