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Conversation with an escaped murderer.
April 8, 2006 6:31 AM   Subscribe

"You know the bad thing about it? You're matchin' up to him." Richard Lee McNair, who was serving a life sentence for the 1988 murder of a truck driver in North Dakota, escaped from a federal penitentiary by hiding in a postal van as it left the prison grounds. McNair convinced a police officer in the tiny community of Ball, Louisiana, that he wasn't the man they were looking for. The conversation between McNair and police officer Karl Bordelon was recorded by the video camera on the dashboard of Bordelon's patrol car.
posted by MotorNeuron (44 comments total)

 
Video link is under McNair's picture to the right of the article.
posted by MotorNeuron at 6:34 AM on April 8, 2006


I watched that on the news last night. I was just speechless.
posted by Tablecrumbs at 6:43 AM on April 8, 2006


"You need to have Internet Explorer 5.0 and above to use the Video Player."

Piss. People still do this?
posted by sidereal at 6:55 AM on April 8, 2006


Alert: You are currently using an incompatible browser or an outdated version of Windows Media Player to access the video player on this site. Please read the troubleshooting tips below for more information.
And yet it still worked.
posted by fixedgear at 7:22 AM on April 8, 2006


the URL for the streaming file seems to be: http://www.klfy.com/Global/video/WorldNowASX.asp?playerType=native&clipID1=746362
posted by provolot at 7:27 AM on April 8, 2006


or rather, the wmv file itself.
posted by provolot at 7:29 AM on April 8, 2006


Plays without sound under Flip4Mac.
posted by nicwolff at 7:37 AM on April 8, 2006


Though he eluded Roscoe, I have every faith that the Duke boys will bring him to justice. Yeehaw!
posted by ColdChef at 7:39 AM on April 8, 2006


No, not those Duke boys.
posted by ColdChef at 7:40 AM on April 8, 2006


I think the Moss Honda lady stole my soul.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 8:11 AM on April 8, 2006


I think the guy in the video looks just like the "blurry" photo they faxed to police departments. The officer, it appears, just couldn't believe that this friendly guy he met jogging down the street was an escaped convict.
posted by jayder at 8:24 AM on April 8, 2006


This case will be cited in the future when law enforcement powers are expanded to allow instant fingerprint checks of anyone the cop runs across.
posted by beth at 8:38 AM on April 8, 2006


Honestly... the officer gives no reason why he SHOULDN'T bring him in. WTF?
posted by thefreek at 8:41 AM on April 8, 2006


"you can go about your business. move along."
posted by neda at 9:02 AM on April 8, 2006


It's hard to tell for sure from the tape, but it look like McNair didn't even bother shaving off his facial hair (or attempting any sort of disguise) following his escape. And those faxed photos, particularly the second, were pretty damn clear.

I'd like to know more about his escape from federal prison. Is this guy a genius or just super lucky? I half expected him to start using the power of The Force on the officer in Ball.
posted by amro at 9:03 AM on April 8, 2006


Well amro, according the this link, McNair has escaped before.
posted by MotorNeuron at 9:09 AM on April 8, 2006


This guy is like an action hero, but a criminal. Action villain? I think he's a prime candidate for supervillain. Anyone have details on his original crime(s)?
posted by luftmensch at 9:21 AM on April 8, 2006


Thanks for the link, MotorNeuron. So you would think, seeing as how he's a known escape risk and all, they would have kept a closer eye on him in the pen. (Not that their incompetence excuses the incompetence of the officer in Ball.)
posted by amro at 9:23 AM on April 8, 2006


Anyone have details on his original crime(s)?

Yeah, he shot a man in Reno just to watch him die.
posted by fixedgear at 9:30 AM on April 8, 2006


Plays without sound under Flip4Mac.
Flip4Mac is mostly next to useless right now, nicwolff. I've yet to find anything it can play that the current (though discontinued) version of WMP can't. Like this video. The link launches WMP and video plays great on my Mac.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:33 AM on April 8, 2006


As they're probably saying all over the South right now,
over and over again: "Well bless his heart." (the officer)
posted by Nicholas West at 9:37 AM on April 8, 2006


Nicholas West: You forgot "pea-pickin'," as in: "Well bless his pea-pickin' heart."
posted by ColdChef at 9:42 AM on April 8, 2006


"...And then the second pitcher we got is this pitcher, which don't, if you look on the video, it don't, neither one, works. And, what we wanted to do again was to make sure, no doubt, that if you seen this individual, our video, you seen him on our video, then you knew what he looked like."

The mayor talks like this?

I just know, though, if I were in law enforcement, I'd totally be the fuck-up who'd let something like this slip through just because the guy I was talking to just, just seemed real nice, you know? Not like a criminal would be. And that's why I work in retail.
posted by redsparkler at 9:49 AM on April 8, 2006


I heard he's so mean he once shot a man just for snoring too loud.

This reminds me of an episode of COPS I saw where the LA police are looking for someone who was throwing his shoe against a window, and they surprise him behind a house, and he takes off running, and the police lose him in the maze of backyards in south central. "We tried to get him," one cop complains, "but he obviously had his esacpe toure mapped out pretty well in advance."

Yep. Because when you're planning on committing a spree of sneaker-to-window-tossings, you got to know all your exits.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:53 AM on April 8, 2006


This happened in Ball, LA.

Something tells me they don't get a whole lot of practice
dealing with hardened criminals and sociopaths in Ball, LA.
posted by Nicholas West at 9:53 AM on April 8, 2006


Does anyone think that the color of his skin had anything to do with him being allowed to jog away?
posted by jennababy at 12:05 PM on April 8, 2006


All white guys pretty much look alike, anyway.
posted by graventy at 12:15 PM on April 8, 2006


What I do find strange is that this officer, who despite at
first suspecting the man of being an escaped killer, did not
as far as I can tell use one of the most basic tools in the
policeman's handbook, which is to ask for ID.

Something that guy would not have been able to supply,
thereby raising the suspicion level in the officer to the point
where he might have detained him.

That's truly sloppy police work.
posted by Nicholas West at 12:28 PM on April 8, 2006


In the beginning of the video the officer did ask for his ID. The convict said he didn't have it on him.
posted by Tacodog at 12:36 PM on April 8, 2006


Watch it again, he asks him for ID at :31 The cop is dumb, but not that dumb.
posted by fixedgear at 12:39 PM on April 8, 2006


Hmmm..I missed that...thanks guys. My apologies to the officer.
posted by Nicholas West at 1:58 PM on April 8, 2006


stunning.

you would think, given the APB scenario, that if this dude looked even remotely close to the faxed pictures and didn't have ID, the cop would either ask him to "go downtown" to verify and gauge his reaction to that, or ask to take him to his hotel so as to retrieve his ID.

i can envision the cop being lax with the guy if he was unaware that a convicted killer was on the loose. but in this case, he has every reason to be extra-suspicious.

the only explanation? mcnair is indeed well-versed in the dark side of the Force. "this is not the killer you're looking for."
posted by Hat Maui at 3:28 PM on April 8, 2006


It looks to me, from the excerpts, that McNair claimed he was living at this nearby motel, and described "his" vehicle using a vague description of one he'd actually seen. The officer calls it in and apparently there's one there that matches. That seems to convince him, unfortunately.

He should have called for backup before stopping the guy. Then he'd have had someone else to second-guess, and maybe play some head games on the guy with. But yeah, they probably don't get a lot of practice in this. Still, with a federal pen nearby ... you'd think they'd get some Homeland Security grant for training or something.
posted by dhartung at 3:52 PM on April 8, 2006


This guy McNair is clever, that's for sure. He displayed chilling cool chatting with an armed officer.
posted by Nicholas West at 4:12 PM on April 8, 2006


...or ask to take him to his hotel so as to retrieve his ID.

I've had that happen for a burned out tail light.
posted by StickyCarpet at 4:52 PM on April 8, 2006


Amazing cool in the situation - would make for a good film - unfortunatly he doesn't deserve to escape
posted by RufusW at 4:58 PM on April 8, 2006


The officer is lucky to have been so stupid. If the guy is a martial arts expert, he probably would have just killed the cop if his cover got blown. Darwin was still right, but evolution is a tricky business.
posted by squirrel at 5:07 PM on April 8, 2006


Small-town cop insufficiently jackbooted; MeFites demand harsher questioning, more checkpoints.
posted by ryanrs at 5:37 PM on April 8, 2006


Flip4Mac is mostly next to useless right now, nicwolff.

The only problems I've seen the Flip4Mac package produce are:

1. Can't play protected WMV files.

2. Doesn't work on Intel yet.

Other than that, it has been great on every machine I've seen it running on so far. (About a dozen.)

Now, off to test out a nightly build of VLC-Intel . . .
posted by Mikey-San at 5:38 PM on April 8, 2006


Ball, Louisiana (map)
  • population 3,681
  • 97% white
  • median household income $31,500
  • per capita income $14,178
  • 10.1% of families below the poverty line

  • posted by ryanrs at 5:40 PM on April 8, 2006


    He should have called for backup before stopping the guy. Then he'd have had someone else to second-guess, and maybe play some head games on the guy with.

    But that would've been a hassle. Consider: a federal inmate escaped from a federal prison onboard a federal postal vehicle. Perhaps nobody in Ball, Louisiana gave a fuck?
    posted by ryanrs at 6:40 PM on April 8, 2006


    The mayor talks like this?

    Ah, come on! He's got the common touch! Sure, he needs help wiping his backside, but that's because he's a man of the people!
    posted by RokkitNite at 7:25 PM on April 8, 2006


    OUCH!
    posted by pwedza at 1:00 AM on April 9, 2006


    long live Barney Fife.
    posted by madamjujujive at 10:41 PM on April 9, 2006


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