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After 47 Years in Default, Inmate Pays Debt to Society

November 06, 2001|From Associated Press

HARDWICK, Ga. — J.C. Fuller has done his time for attempted murder. It only took him 48 months, not counting the 47-year break he took in the middle.

Fuller, 77, was the longest-escaped inmate in Georgia history. He was released Monday after serving his final 19 months of a four-year term for shooting at his common-law wife in 1952.

The way Fuller tells it, he never planned to escape in 1953. But six months before he was to be released early for good behavior, he was on work detail and was ordered into a creek where prisoners were building a bridge. Fuller had seen snakes in that creek. He hates snakes.

"I said, 'I ain't going back to those snakes,' " Fuller told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Instead, he fled to Florida, where his mother lived.

Fuller eluded Georgia authorities without really trying. He never changed his name--John Clarence Fuller--and he collected Social Security checks and paid taxes on 55 acres of land in the state.

He was finally caught last year after a dispute over his Social Security payments.

Authorities cannot explain how he eluded them for so long.

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