Everybody Has Goals: McCluskey and Welch Aim Low


    On July 30, John McCluskey escaped from a medium-security Arizona where the security is so lax that the alarms reportedly go off so often that they are ignored. Armed only with wirecutters that his cousin and fiancé, Casslyn Welch, threw over the prison fence, he and two other inmates walked out of their dormitories, snipped through a chain-link fence, and fled into the desert.McCluskey and Welch went on the run. They are suspected of killing an elderly couple during a multistate manhunt.  According to U.S. Marshal David Gonzales, McCluskey and Welch “considered themselves Bonnie and Clyde.”

    Lucky for us they weren’t.  In their one apparent similarity, Clyde did escape from prison using a gun Bonnie smuggled to him.  He was recaptured, sent back to prison, and paroled in February 1932 when he rejoined Bonnie and set out on a life of crime.  Bonnie and Clyde eluded police for over a year and a half and were suspected of killing 13 people, 9 of whom were law enforcement officials.  They robbed a dozen or so banks as well as small stores and rural gas stations.  They were taken down by six officers when they appeared in their car in broad daylight in Bienville Parish, Lousiana in May, 1934.  By some estimates, each had 25 -50 gunshot wounds.

    McCluskey and Welsh eluded police for all of three weeks.  They were apprehended in Arizona, in a national forest just 280 miles from the prison where McCluskey escaped.  Welch had a gun but dropped it when she saw the number of armed officers.  McCluskey was found lying in a sleeping bag.  He told authorities that he had a gun in the tent and would have shot them if he had the chance.

    U.S. Marshal Gonzales said, “They joke about it (being Bonnie and Clyde) and I think they’ve taken the persona that this is some type of a movie and some kind of a joke that they are living but it is not – this is a very, very serious business.”

    Too bad they didn’t see the movie.  There might have been a different ending.

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