Escaped killer lived quietly in Florida for forty years

March 16, 2014 at 1:12 PM
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DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla., March 16 (UPI) -- A man convicted of murder in 1974 who escaped from military prison lived quietly in Deerfield Beach, Fla. with an assumed identity until last week, police said.

Even James Robert Jones' wife, Susan, was unaware her husband had been sentenced to prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., for stabbing a fellow soldier to death in Fort Dix, N.J., the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported Sunday.

Jones, whose new identity was Bruce Keith, was captured Thursday at the Pompano Beach air-conditioning business where he was employed, said Barry Gordon of the U.S. Marshals Service, who added "The first words out of his mouth were, 'I knew this was going to catch up to me one day.'".

Jones was held without bond in Broward County Jail, awaiting transfer to Army authorities.

Twenty years remain on his sentence for premeditated murder and aggravated assault. Jones, 59, of Ontario, Calif., was 20 when he attacked Lonnie Eaton, 18, and Thomas White, 22, both Army privates. Eaton died and Jones was sentenced to 23 years in prison but escaped from Leavenworth in 1977.

Details of his escape were not available.

Jones obtained a driver's license in the name of Bruce Walter Keith in 1981, and lived a quiet life in Deerfield Beach until his capture, the newspaper said.

Neighbors called Jones a friendly, hardworking man, although Tammy Smith, a neighbor, said Jones' wife was upset by the news her husband is a convicted murderer and fugitive.

"She had no idea," Smith said. "I talked to her. She's extremely distraught."

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