Robert McWilliams- North Carolina- 1977 Aug 23, 2016 0:10:15 GMT -5
Post by Scumhunter on Aug 23, 2016 0:10:15 GMT -5
(Above photo credit: abc11.com)
The search for a Nash County convicted killer who escaped from prison has dragged on for decades.
Robert McWilliams is dangerous and shouldn't be approached, said Keith Acree, a spokesman for the N.C. Public Safety Department.
McWilliams has been at large for many years and is likely living under an assumed identity. Anyone with any information on McWilliams' whereabouts or circumstances is asked to call state prison authorities at 919-838-3572.
McWilliams' violent criminal past stretches back nearly half a century.
April 25, 1970, began just like any other Saturday for 82-year-old Spring Hope hog farmer William Manning. The morning was cool and dry so Manning decided to gather some wood used in cooking pig slop. But Manning was getting up there in age and couldn't haul wood like he used to when he was younger.
So when Manning spotted a young man walking along a rural road, he pulled his pickup over and offered to pay him cash to help load wood. Originally from Alabama, McWilliams, 22 at the time, was working as a migrant farmer and living with a friend on Route 1 in Spring Hope. He needed the money so he agreed to help Manning.
A short time later a motorist found Manning's dead body laying next to his truck at the entrance to a wooded area.
Soon after that a deputy picked up McWilliams walking along N.C. 58 near Denton’s Store. McWilliams had the dead man's wallet and $60 in cash in his pocket.
In an era when the Vietnam War dominated headlines and blacks were still referred to as Negros in newspapers, Manning's murder didn't make the front page of local publications. McWilliams’ trial a few months later received a three-paragraph report in the local section of what was then The Evening Telegram.
Against his attorney's advice, McWilliams took the witness stand. He told the court that he and Manning got into an argument because Manning told him he wasn’t any good.
“He got to bragging about what he had and that I got nothing,” McWilliams said.
McWilliams testified he was afraid Manning would shoot him. Witnesses testified Manning didn’t have a temper and didn’t own a firearm, all according to court records and the archived news report.
When McWilliams had enough of Manning's supposed taunts, McWilliams dropped the old man to his knees with one punch. McWilliams could have stopped there but didn't. He went to the bed of the truck, grabbed a log and walked over to Manning. McWilliams swung the log like a baseball bat, striking Manning in the head three times, knocking him out cold.
McWilliams took off Manning's belt and tied his hands with it, used the man's shoelaces to tie his feet and stuffed a rag in his mouth. McWilliams took Manning's wallet and money and left the bleeding unconscious old man for dead, McWilliams admitted during his trial.
Manning died of a fractured skull and brain damage. He lived for about 10 minutes after McWilliams beat him, according to Manning's death certificate on file at the Nash County Register of Deeds.
Manning was buried in a small cemetery on the edge of Spring Hope.
McWilliams remained expressionless when convicted of second-degree murder and common law robbery and given a 40-year sentence. He was sent to general population at Raleigh's Central Prison.
McWilliams racked up 10 infractions in his first few years of incarceration for offenses ranging from provoking an assault to weapons possession. Then in 1975, McWilliams' behavior improved to the point he was moved to a medium security prison in Hendersonville. On Dec. 19, 1977, McWilliams disappeared from an outdoor work detail. There have been no official sightings of him in nearly four decades.
If he's alive, McWilliams is 68.
Spring Hope resident Nikki Martin,who lives close to where Manning was brutally murdered, said it is disturbing to know a killer from the area has been on the loose for so long.
“He could be dead or he could be living at the end of the street,” Martin said.
Authorities said there is little reason to believe McWilliams would return to the Nash County area, but there was no way to know for sure what he might do.
McWilliams was added to the state's most wanted list last year after a months-long joint investigative effort by local, state and federal authorities failed to locate him. The sweeping dragnet of longtime escapees resulted in the arrest, location or death confirmation of 43 long-term escapees from the state's prison system, reducing by 30 percent the number of outstanding escapee cases.
During the initiative, 10 wanted fugitives were found at large, arrested and returned to the state prison system to complete their sentences. An additional 15 escapees were found to be incarcerated in other states or in the federal prison system under aliases. And 18 escapees were confirmed to be dead.
Thoughts? Robert McWilliams was named as one of North Carolina's 12 Most Wanted prison escapees in local North Carolina media articles that came out last year. He would be 68 as of 2015. Here is the article on all the escapees: abc11.com/news/north-carolinas-12-most-wanted/964510/
Admin Note #1: : According to online articles, Anyone with information on McWilliams' whereabouts nor any of the North Carolina Most Wanted prison escapees is asked to contact the Department of Public Safety at (919) 838-3572.
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