Elderly prison escapee will fight for his life - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Elderly prison escapee will fight for his life

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Robert Stackowitz was arrested after it was discovered that he was an escaped convict from Georgia. (WFSB) Robert Stackowitz was arrested after it was discovered that he was an escaped convict from Georgia. (WFSB)
SHERMAN, CT (WFSB) -

An elderly Sherman man will fight being sent back to the prison he escaped nearly 50 years ago.

Robert Stackowitz, 71, was arrested last week at his Sherman home after it was discovered that he was an escaped convict from Georgia.

Georgia authorities said in 1968, Stackowitz walked away from the prison where he was serving a 17 year robbery sentence.

Stackowitz had been serving time at the prison for only two years.

Officials caught him when his social security application showed there was a warrant out for his arrest.

Now, Stackowitz will fight what his lawyer called "a death sentence" because of his age and many health problems.

Channel 3's Matt McFarland spoke with Stackowitz's lawyer, Norm Pattis, who said the convict is living his nightmare.

"I think he lived in fear that this day might come and hoped that it wouldn't," said Stackowitz.

After Stackowitz' arrest, he returned to Connecticut, where he was born, and ran a boat repair business.

His lawyer said despite his past, Stackowitz is an upstanding citizen.

"For a lifetime he hasn't engaged in other criminal conduct, he's been rehabilitated as a productive member of society, pays his taxes, runs a business, owns his own home," said Pattis.

Pattis believes it's unreasonable for his client to be punished for a crime that is far in the past.

"What conceivable interest can Georgia have in putting a 71 year old man in prison for something that happened a half a century ago?

The lawyer also wants Georgia to commute the sentence because of his many health problems.

"We're asking Georgia to stand down.  He suffers congestive heart failure, he's got bladder cancer, he's a severe diabetic, other circulatory issues and quite candidly I'm concerned the extradition process will kill him."

Georgia's pardons and parole board said they will review the case when Stackowitz is sent back to the state.

They said they will look into his arrest, escape and his conduct for the past 48 years.

Pattis said they will fight the extradition when they arrive in court next month.

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