CO thwarts inmate's attempt to escape from NY prison

NYSCOPBA said the inmate scaled a fence and almost made it to the top


By Bethany Bump
Times Union

MARCY, N.Y. — A corrections officer thwarted an inmate's attempt to escape from the Marcy Correctional Facility on Thursday Oct. 1, the New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association said.

NYSCOPBA did not release the inmate's name, but released enough details for the inmate to be identified as Richard J. Wright — a 52-year-old Lansingburgh man who was convicted twice of arson and murder in connection with a 1986 fire that killed two teen girls in Lansingburgh.

Wright was walking down a sidewalk near the prison infirmary at around 4:35 p.m. when an officer questioned him, NYSCOPBA said. The inmate didn't answer the officer and instead ran toward a fence lining the prison's perimeter and scaled it, making it as high as the top razor wire, the group said.

The officer ran to the fence and administered three applications of pepper spray, causing the inmate to fall to the ground, they said. He was placed into handcuffs and removed from the area without further struggle.

After the escape attempt the inmate was transferred to Five Points Correctional Facility in Seneca County and placed into a special housing unit, NYSCOPBA said.

Criminal charges are pending, they said.

"The officer did an excellent job stopping the inmate from escaping the facility," said Bryan Hluska, vice president of NYSCOPBA's Central Region. "The inmate was able to scale the fence to the top of the razor wire when the officer's alert and quick actions stopped him. He was quickly subdued and handcuffed without any staff being injured. There is no telling, based on his violent history, what he could have been capable of if he was successful getting over that fence."

Thomas Mailey, a spokesperson for the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision, confirmed that an inmate attempted to scale a fence at Marcy, but said there was never any danger to the public.

"Because this was an inner fence, there was never a threat of an escape and the public was not in jeopardy," he said.

The inmate sustained minor injuries following the attempt, he said.

Wright is serving a 25-year-to-life sentence for the 1986 deaths of 13-year-old Meredith Pipino and 14-year-old Tara Gilbert. Pipino and Gilbert died in a Lansingburgh house fire that investigators say was arson.

He was originally convicted of their murders in 1988, but that conviction was overturned in 2018. He was retried and convicted again on four counts of second-degree murder and one count of first-degree arson for the deadly blaze.

Wright has repeatedly maintained his innocence over the years.

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(c)2020 the Times Union (Albany, N.Y.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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