On July 28, 1980, 32-year-old double murderer Troy Leon Gregg did the unthinkable.
Followed by three other condemned murderers, Gregg escaped from Georgia State Prison’s death row by disguising himself as a corrections officer.
The four murderers had sawn through the bars of their fourth-floor cells and a window in an exercise area, then walked along the ledge to a fire escape.
Before making their way to the front gate, the escapees altered their prison pajamas to look like uniforms and were eventually challenged by actual corrections officers. Unfortunately, the officers were careless enough to allow the escapees to continue on their way after being told that the four were conducting “security checks.”
The prison officials learned of the escape from a reporter for the Albany Herald, whom Gregg had called a couple of hours after the escape. Gregg told the reporter that they would rather die than stay there for another day due to inhumane conditions.
Ironically enough, Gregg’s words backfired the same night.
While celebrating his seemingly perfect escape, the fugitive began behaving inappropriately with the server at The Olde Yellow Tavern. Unbeknownst to Gregg, the server turned out to be the wife of an “Outlaw” member, James “Butch” Horne.
Fellow escapee Timothy McCorquodale advised Gregg to stop, fearing that any trouble would reveal their whereabouts, but Gregg persisted. McCorquodale and Horne then took turns beating the fugitive for his misconduct.
Gregg died of his injuries soon after. His remains were discovered the following day by swimmers at Mountain Island Dam in South Carolina.
Hours later, authorities received a tip that the other three escapees were hiding in a house rented by an “Outlaw” member, William “Chains” Flamont.
Police used tear gas to force the other three fugitives out of their hideout. Reporter Rick Willis described the scene as reminiscent of a cops-and-robbers thriller.
“He called them by name and said come on out with their hands up. It was right out of a Spencer Tracy movie. They were told to go belly down on the ground and crawl to the police officers.”