13 April 1943, Tuesday

James A. Boarman Name: James A. Boarman

Age: 24
Inmate #: 571-AZ
Crime: bank robbery
Sentence: 20 years
Notes: status unknown, presumed drowned.

Harold Martin Brest Name: Harold Martin Brest

Inmate #: 380-AZ and 487-AZ
Crime: bank robbery and kidnaping
Sentence: life plus 50 years
Notes: had won a habeas corpus while in Alcatraz, sent back to Pittsburg for retrail, received a stiffer sentence from 45 years, and returned to Alcatraz. Bureau of Prisons: "as 380-AZ, transferred to USP Atlanta, GA and released by court order for retrial--he was re-convicted, re-sentenced and returned to Alcatraz as 487-AZ, no information available about his transfer/release from Alcatraz. He is dead."

Floyd G. Hamilton Name: Floyd G. Hamilton

Age: 36
Inmate #: 523-AZ
Crime: bank robbery
Sentence: 30 years
Notes: a henchman of the Barrow-Parker-Hamilton outlaw gang. Bureau of Prisons: "transferred from Alcatraz (no date available), conditionally released from USP Leavenworth, KS. He was released from parole via commutation of sentence. He is dead."

Fred Hunter Name: Fred Hunter

Age: 43
Inmate #: 402-AZ
Crime: harboring Alvin "Old Creepy" Karpis
Sentence: 25 years
Notes: member of the Karpis gang; also suspected of mail robbery; would have been eligible for parole in two years (September 1943) for good behavior. Bureau of Prisons: "transferred from Alcatraz (no date available), conditionally released from USP Leavenworth and was discharged from Federal supervison---completed sentence)."

At 9:30 a.m., in the model building at the northwest end of the island, the four convicts, with "shivs" (prison-made knives) in-hand, overpowerd Custodial Officer, Smith, and bound and gagged him. Shortly afterwards, Captain of the Guards, Henry Weinhold, noticing that Smith was not on guard entered the room and was also overpowered. Then the convicts lept out a window, clad only in their underwear and covered in grease, and plunged 30 feet down a sheer cliff into the water. They had left behind two of four cans that were designed to stay afloat and had army uniforms inside.

Smith managed to get his whistle loose and into the mouth of Wienhold who blew it. At the same time, Officer Frank Johnson outside saw the convicts escaping and sounded an alarm. The tower guards trained their guns on the convicts in the water and began shooting. A prison launch pulled alongside Brest who was holding onto the unconscious Boarman. As Brest reached up for the guard's grip, he let go of Boarman who disappeared beneath the water. The guards were convinced Boarman was shot dead and sank.

Hunter, injuring his back and cutting his hands, gave up on swimming and sought refuge in a nearby cave. The Guard's took a boat over to the entrance of the cave. One of the guards ordered him to come out. When he didn't respond, the guard fired a pistol shot. Hunter then came out. The hunt was continued throughout the day in the hope of finding the bodies.

Hamilton, assumed to have been dead, had been hiding in the same cave as Hunter. Three days later, on Friday night, he climbed back up the cliff and through the same window he had jumped. He then hid under a pile of material in the store-room of the model building. Captain of the Guards, Weinhold, while searching for implements used in the escape discovered Hamilton the next morning. Hamilton was not wounded by gunfire. Warden James A. Johnston had made an interesting, conclusive statement the day after the escape: "We're positive that Hamilton is dead. He was shot, and we saw him go under."


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