Frank Freshwaters, 79, the Shawshank fugitive convicted of manslaughter who eluded authorities for 56 years before finally being apprehended in 2015, was paroled on February 25 and will soon be a free man. Freshwaters will leave prison “on or after April 24,” according to Cleveland.com. Freshwaters will be turning 80 years old in April.
Prosecutors argued in court on Thursday against the parole for Freshwaters. Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh said that “Inmate Freshwaters struck and killed Eugene Flynt with his vehicle in 1957. He has spent nearly 60 years avoiding taking responsibility for what happened,” according to USA Today.
One of Flynt’s children was also unhappy about Freshwater’s parole. That son was seen wiping away tears when Freshwaters’ parole was announced.
At the parole hearing, a lawyer for Freshwaters argued that his client lived a crime-free existence ever since the accident that claimed Flynt‘s life. Freshwaters’ attorney said that the fatal accident haunted his client all these years.
Freshwaters, formerly of Akron, Ohio, was convicted in Ohio of vehicular manslaughter back in 1957. He was given a suspended sentence for that conviction but two years later got busted on a parole violation which automatically kicked in a mandatory 20 year prison sentence for him. Freshwaters spent the next 56 years on the lam and living in obscurity before finally getting arrested again last May.
Following his May 2015 re-arrest, Freshwaters was imprisoned back in Ohio. When his 20 year prison sentence kicked back in for that probation violation, he was sent to the Ohio State Reformatory, the same prison that was used in the filming of “The Shawshank Redemption.” He was then transferred to a lower security prison where he escaped after only serving seven months of that 20 year sentence, according to People.
Authorities actually caught up with him once in West Virginia in 1975. But the governor of West Virginia refused to extradite the escaped convicted killer back to Ohio. And once again, Freshwaters was on the run and in hiding.
A cold case squad under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Marshal’s Service re-opened the search for Freshwaters and caught up with him last year week in Florida where he had retired. He was living on Social Security Benefits under the assumed name of William Harold Cox.
Before moving in to make the arrest, officials approached Freshwaters where he was living in a trailer park in a rural section of Melbourne, showed him a photograph of his 23-year-old self and asked him if he recognized the man in the picture. According to CBS News, Freshwaters replied that he hadn’t seen that man for a very long time. Cops then said that the escaped convict fessed up and said “You got me.”