Fugitive who hid in Connecticut for decades released on bail

Robert Stackowitz was brought to court in a wheelchair. (WFSB photo)

A man who spent 48 years on the lam after escaping from a prison in Georgia faced a judge in Danbury Tuesday morning.

Robert Stackowitz, 71, appeared in Danbury Superior Court for an extradition hearing.

He was initially sentenced to 17 years in prison for a robbery; however, He fled a prison work camp in Carrolton, GA in 1968.

He hid in the town of Sherman where he lived a quiet life of making repairs at auto shops and teaching shop at a local high school, Stackowitz said.

He assumed the name Robert Gordon.

Prosecutors said his mistake was applying for social security benefits. He was arrested on May 17.

Now his lawyer is working to fight Stackowitz's extradition back to Georgia. Stackowitz said he has major health problems, including heart failure and bladder cancer.

On Tuesday, he was released on a $100 bail.

"Georgia is asking for him, we're fighting for him and we'll take this fight as far as we can for as long as we can," said Norm Pattis, Stackowitz's attorney.

The judge is giving Stackowitz a few more weeks before hearing Pattis' Habeus Corpus argument challenging the extradition. Pattis' goal is to keep the 71-year-old in Connecticut for at least another year.

Stackowitz said any time in prison would essentially be a death sentence.

The next hearing will be on Sept. 26.

Copyright 2016 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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