23 May 1938, Tuesday

Rufus Franklin Name: Rufus Franklin

Age: 24
Inmate #: 335-AZ
Crime: bank robbery, auto theft and assault
Sentence: 30 years
Notes: also wanted in Alabama as a parole violator, where he was serving a life sentence for murder. Federal Bureau of Prisons: "no transfer date from Alcatraz available, but he was paroled from FPC Maxwell Field, AL (no date available)."

Thomas R. Limerick Name: Thomas R. Limerick

Age: 36
Inmate #: 263-AZ
Crime: bank robbery and kidnaping
Sentence: life
Notes: arrived at Alcatraz in October 1935. Died from wounds encountered during this escape attempt.

James Lucas Name: James C. Lucas

Age: 26
Inmate #: 224-AZ
Crime: bank robbery and auto theft
Sentence: 30 years
Notes: arrived at Alcatraz in January 1935. Also wanted in Texas, where he was sentenced for life for escape, bank robbery and assault to murder. In 1936, he had attacked Al Capone with a pair of scissors, reportedly out of resentment for Capone's refusal to join in a prison mutiny earlier that year. Bureau of Prisons: "transferred from Alcatraz (no date available), paroled in April 1958, violated parole and returned to custody, released from USP McNeil Island camp via presidential commutation of sentence."

Shortly after 2 p.m., Franklin, Limerick and Lucas made their way from the woodworking shop over to the top floor of the factory building. They brought along with them a hammer, lead weights and pieces of iron. Senior custodial officer, R.C. Cline, was patrolling the floor unarmed. The three convicts without warning beat Cline repeatedly over the head with the hammer.

The three then went out of a window and crawled up onto the roof after cutting through barbwire. There, they attacked the armed guard on-duty by flinging the lead weights and pieces of iron at the glass tower from three directions. The shatter-proof glass held up against the barrage and only one lead weight managed to get through, slightly injuring the guard's leg. The guard opened fire and hit Franklin in the shoulder and Limerick in the head. Lucas gave up as soons as other guards rushed up to the roof. Their goal was to attempt to disarm other guards with the weapon from the first guard, sieze the prison boat and make their way off the island.

Limerick died from the wound inflicted to his head that evening in the prison hospital. R.C. Cline, 36, died the following day at the Marine Hospital from the wounds inflicted by the convicts. He left behind a wife and four daughters. Franklin and Lucas were given life sentences for the murder of Cline.


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