News—-TEXAS 7

Eric Singer Goes Inside Death Row With the Texas 7

D.A. Speaks Out Against Release of Texas 7

7 years ago, 7 men made one of the most daring prison breaks of all time, leading to a more than month-long man-hunt. That man-hunt, which began in south Texas, ended right here in the Colorado Springs area. At the time of the incident, NEWSCHANNEL 13 anchor Eric Singer had the rare opportunity to speak with two of the escapees before their capture. Now, 7 years later, he becomes the first member of the media to talk with one of the Texas 7 since they were taken back into custody.

On Thursday, January 31st, NEWSCHANNEL 13 at 10:00 aired part one of an exclusive interview with Patrick Murphy, who was caught at the Holiday Inn just off Garden of the Gods road on January 24, 2001. Eric traveled to the Texas prison Wednesday where Murphy is on death row and awaiting execution. The 3-part series began Thursday at 10:00 and continues Friday and Thursday, February 7th at 10:00.

The Texas 7 escaped from the John B. Connally Unit, a maximum-security state prison near the South Texas town Kennedy, on December 13, 2000. At the time of the breakout, the reported ringleader of the Texas 7, 30-year-old George Rivas, was already serving 18 life sentences. Michael Anthony Rodriguez, 38, was also serving a life term, while Larry Harper, 37, Joseph Garcia and Patrick Murphy, 39, all were serving at least 50 years. Donald Keith Newbury, the member with the longest rap sheet of the group, was serving a 99-year term. The youngest member, Randy Halprin, 23, was serving a 30-year sentence.

The 7 men used several well-planned ploys to overpower and restrain 9 civilian maintenance supervisors, 4 correctional officers and 3 uninvolved inmates. They stole their victims money, credit cards and clothing and proceeded to go to the back gate and overpower a guard at the gatehouse. They then stole a maintenance van and drove away from the prison.

Over the next couple weeks, the group committed a series of armed robberies. They finally came to stay at an R.V. park in Woodland Park, but the owner recognized them from a report on America’s Most Wanted and called police. 4 of the escapees were taken into custody, while a 5th
committed suicide during the arrest. The final 2, Newbury and Murphy, were reported to be hiding at the Holiday Inn 2 days later. It was then that they made a deal with authorities and gave Eric a phone interview. At that time, the men strongly denounced the criminal justice system. Be sure to watch NEWSCHANNEL 13 at 10:00 Friday, and next week to see the complete coverage of the latest interview.

(source: KRDO News, Colo. Springs)