- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 25, 2001

The last two Texas prison escapees surrendered peacefully at a Colorado Springs motel yesterday morning, ending a six-week manhunt triggered by one of the most infamous and well-planned jailbreaks in recent memory.

On Monday, four of the other escaped convicts had been surrounded and captured by police without incident some 20 miles away. The fifth inmate fatally shot himself rather than leave his barricaded trailer home.

A multilevel task force and SWAT professionals captured the two heavily armed men swiftly and carefully.

Patrick Henry Murphy Jr., 39, and Donald Keith Newbury, 38, the former serving 50 years and the latter a life sentence, gave up after nearly six hours of negotiation with law-enforcement officers. The two fugitives demanded they be allowed to speak to a Colorado Springs television reporter. That was quickly arranged. After the interview, in which they railed against the Texas criminal justice system, the two convicts calmly backed out of their room, hands held high and clad only in trousers.

The two escapees were captured some 20 miles from the Woodland Park motel/trailer park, where they had been in hiding since Jan. 1. Police were tipped off by a motel employee who described one of the men as "suspicious."

The four convicts captured Monday three at a convenience store and the other at the trailer park were being held in the Teller County jail, authorities said. Murphy and Newbury are being detained in the nearby El Paso County jail.

All six fugitives who gave up had multiple weapons within several feet.

The district attorney for Colorado's 4th Judicial District which includes Teller and El Paso counties said all six convicts had been informed of their legal rights as to extradition back to Texas. And two of the fugitives may appear in Teller County courts as early as this morning.

Dallas District Attorney Bill Hill said all six would be charged with capital murder for the Dec. 24 slaying of a policeman in Irving, Texas. "When you have an escaped convict that's in prison for all types of violations of the law and gets out and kills a police officer, there can't be any more vicious type of a crime that would warrant the death penalty in our opinion," Mr. Hill said.

The gang of escaped convicts traveling together, a fact many criminal experts have called "extremely unusual" robbed three businesses, taking in about $70,000 and dozens of weapons from an Irving sporting goods store, where they were confronted by Officer Aubrey Hawkins.

Authorities have yet to determine which escapee actually killed Officer Hawkins. Although law-enforcement sources in Colorado claim that the gang's leader, murderer George Rivas, has admitted he was the one.

The officer was shot 11 times and then run over by the getaway car. Rivas was injured in the stomach and the thigh during the shootout, police said.

All six fugitives have met with their attorneys, District Attorney Jeanie Smith said yesterday afternoon. Mrs. Smith had no idea whether the escapees planned to fight extradition.

Two Colorado lawyers said that since the escapees would face the death penalty in Texas, it was "probable they would fight like hell. Wouldn't you?" asked Jim Grimsley, a Pueblo lawyer.

After the capture of the last two convicts, many investigative agencies held a late-afternoon press conference in Colorado Springs. They praised the work of law enforcement and the assistance given by the public and the media.

Jayne Hawkins, the mother of the dead police officer, said she was "very pleased" the escapees were back in custody. However, she was surprised they gave up so easily. "I thought they would do something really bad, really bizarre," Mrs. Hawkins said.

With more than $500,000 in reward money offered for assistance in the capture of the six convicts, it is not yet clear who will actually share it. Irving Police Department spokesman David Tull said authorities were trying to determine how to parcel out the reward money.


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