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Killer Escaped From Prison, Got Ride From Unlikely Source

Michael 'Pretty Boy Floyd' Wilson flagged down a Mississippi newspaper publisher
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 19, 2018 6:14 AM CDT
Newspaper Editor Unknowingly Gave Ride to Escaped Killer
Michael F. Wilson, a convicted murderer who escaped South Mississippi Correctional Institution in Leakesville, Miss., earlier this month.   (Mississippi Department of Corrections via AP)

(Newser) – A newspaper editor picked up a twice-convicted killer who asked for a ride in Mississippi, not realizing he'd just escaped from prison. Michael "Pretty Boy Floyd" Wilson, serving life sentences for the 2014 killings of two men, jumped a fence at the South Mississippi Correctional Institution in Leakesville on July 5, reports the Biloxi Sun Herald. Some time after an elderly woman gave Wilson a ride to a nearby Walmart, believing he was trying to get to a hospital to visit his wife, he turned up in front of the home of Russell Turner, editor and publisher of the Greene County Herald. Though authorities warned the public not to give rides to strangers, per WALA, Turner obliged, dropping Wilson at a hospital. Wilson was found by police getting into another person's car near St. Martin after three days on the lam.

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He "was desperate and dangerous and this could have certainly had many different, tragic outcomes," Turner writes in a Monday op-ed. "It doesn't really bother me that I have made such a good target for jeering," he adds, arguing a staff shortage and other security issues at the minimum security prison should steal the attention. "From all accounts, a bare minimum, skeleton crew runs the prison most days with many guard positions being covered by staff from other departments or just not staffed at all," Turner writes, noting that comments made by county officials suggest staffing is only a third of what it should be. Meanwhile, Wilson is being held at the Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman as authorities investigate the escape, including how Wilson got to the perimeter fence and came up with street clothes. (Read more escaped criminal stories.)

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