Northeast Ohio’s ‘Shawshank Fugitive’ granted parole


Frank Freshwaters (Photo Credit: U.S. Marshal’s Office)

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COLUMBUS, Ohio  — An Ohio board has granted parole to an Akron man who disappeared from an Ohio prison camp in 1959 while serving time for manslaughter and was found last year in Florida.

Frank Freshwaters wasn't at Thursday's hearing before the state parole board in Columbus. They decided Thursday that he should be released April 24, about a week after his 80th birthday. Exactly where he'll go hasn't been settled, but the conditions for his release include five years of supervision.

Investigators who tracked down Freshwaters, known as the "Shawshank Fugitive," say the 79-year-old widower was living off Social Security benefits under an alias at a weathered trailer in rural Brevard County, Florida.

**Watch a past report in the video above**

His attorney argued for Freshwaters' release, saying he has lived a clean life and never forgot the accident that led to his case. Authorities say Freshwaters was the driver of a vehicle involved in a car vs. pedestrian accident which resulted in a fatality in July 1957.

A son of the victim in the manslaughter case told the board that Freshwaters should be held accountable.

One of Freshwaters' sons wiped tears from his eyes after the decision was announced. Another son who was born months after the accident that got Freshwaters in trouble says he's hoping to get to know him better.

Prosecutors had argued that Freshwaters changed his name, avoided accountability and never paid the restitution ordered for his victim's family.

Freshwaters was first caught in West Virginia in 1975 but wasn't extradited then.

He served time at the infamous Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield, where the movie "Shawshank Redemption" was filmed, but authorities say he was able to earn the trust of prison officials and was moved to the Sandusky Honor Farm to finish his sentence.

Read more here.

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