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The Battle of Alcatraz II

From the youngest inmate ever in Alcatraz to an inmate with a history dotted with escape attempts, the group of criminals that tried to break free of the Rock was a colorful bunch. They managed to keep the incident going to two days. In this article, you will learn a bit about some of the criminals that participated in the great escape.

Clarence Carnes

Because he was a Choctaw Indian, Carnes was given the nickname of the Choctaw Kid. He also gained attention as being the youngest inmate sentenced to Alcatraz. He was sentenced to life in prison when he was just 16 years old because he participated in the murder of a garage attendant during an attempted hold-up. He had escaped from the Granite Reformatory with other prisoners, but was recaptured and sentenced to an extra 99 years for a kidnapping that he carried out while he was on the run. After being sent to Leavenworth, he tried again to escape while in the custody of the Marshals Service.

Even though Carnes was given a life sentence in Oklahoma for murder (in addition to a sentence of 203 years on federal charges), he was paroled in 1973 when he was 46 years old. Unfortunately, he had his parole revoked twice due to parole violations, and he was sent back to prison.

Paul Cretzer

Cretzer started his criminal career at an early age and was no stranger to being in and out of prison. He was also no stranger to attempting to break out of jail. Cretzer started to serve a sentence at McNeil Island in February 1940 but in April 1940, he and another prisoner broke free from a commandeered truck. It took three days to capture Cretzer, where he received an extra five years of imprisonment on his sentence. However, he was not done , he tried to escape after his sentencing in a Washingotn courthouse. In the process, a U.S. Marshal was killed as Cretzer struggled to get free.

When Cretzer was sent to Alcatraz in August of 1940, he had a new life sentence for the murder of the marshal. Before the Battle of Alcatraz, Cretzer had already had another escape attempt under his belt.

Miran Edgar Thompson

At the time of the prison break, Thompson was serving a life sentence plus 99 years for kidnapping and murdering police officer Detective Lemuel Dodd Savage in Amarillo, Texas. But that is not all he did , Thompson also participated in armed robberies in several different states, such as Kansas and Oklahoma. He often got caught by the police, but he was also good at escaping from jail. He had been held in a variety of small jails that he escaped from , being arrested eight different times.

Thompson shot and killed Savage during his transport to jail. The officer had arrested him (along with another criminal) when he discovered a burglary in progress at a store. Before transporting the two, he searched the suspects, but failed to detect a handgun that was hidden in Thompson’s pants. During the transport, Thompson pulled out the gun and shot the officer. As he fled, he took three other people hostage before he was finally caught again.