O'Keefe prison release delayed

November 26, 2017 08:26 AM

ARGYLE - The long wait for freedom for Joel O'Keefe has been delayed. News Channel 13 has learned that Saturday's scheduled release from prison for the renowned criminal escape artist has been pushed back, possibly several weeks, according to a law enforcement official.

The crimes that sent Joel O'Keefe to prison included burglary, weapons possession, and escape, but it was the escape and subsequent 13-day manhunt that elevated him from a common criminal to a notorious cult figure.

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In the late summer of 1994, while being driven back to jail from a court appearance, O'Keefe escaped from a squad car in a Stewart's parking lot in Ballston Spa while handcuffed. Nearly two weeks later, O'Keefe was arrested in Bennington, Vermont after an alert employee at a Subway store recognized him.

At one time O'Keefe was an accused sex offender. Those charges, however, were eventually dropped.

O'Keefe wound up serving more than 23 years behind bars after entering the state prison system in 1995. Because of his escape history he was placed in administrative segregation, better known as solitary confinement, in 1999, but when he sued the state, not only was the segregation ended, he was also awarded a $10,000 settlement from New York State.

When his father died in 2000, he was denied permission to attend the funeral, which according to Department of Corrections officials led to the first of his three unsuccessful prison escape attempts.

Now, DOC will be unlocking the prison door to allow him to walk out on his own, a free man.

Our news partners at the Post Star Newspaper, quoting police sources, report O'Keefe plans to return to Argyle, his home town.

It should also be noted that because sex charges were dropped against him, he is not required to register as a sex offender.


Dan Levy

Copyright 2017 - WNYT-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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