Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Boys Risk Lives to Leave Jail

The Register-Leader, October 30, 1916

Youthful Robbers Break County Jail Here, Are Caught.

Make Key of Spoon.  Peg Leg Taken From Boy.

Clarence Lemmon, 17, and William Lemmon, 14, brothers confined in the juvenile apartment of the county jail made their escape sometime during Saturday night, the boys declare between 10 and 11 o'clock. They were caught by Capt. Smith of the Parkersburg police department about 10 o'clock Sunday morning four miles this side of Parkersburg. Sheriff Posey was notified and the young jail birds were returned by him by automobile to the county prison.

Asked how they made their escape, the boys said that they worked one whole day making a key to the lock in the prison window with an old spoon. Successful in this undertaking, they unlocked the barred window, climbed upon the window sill, pulled themselves up on an eavespout about five feet above the prison window to the roof of the court house, thence through a window into the tower and down the tower steps to the interior of the court house. Exit from the court house proper was made through one of the doors on the first floor.

The boys stole their way across the Ohio River bridge and were walking the road to Parkersburg when apprehended. Clarence, the boy who has a peg leg, tried to run into the Ohio River when Capt. Smith went to take him and his brother into custody.

Sheriff Posey is under the impression that the elder Lemmon boy broke the lock in the jail window with his wooden leg instead of picking the lock with a broken spoon. For this reason,the peg leg was last night taken away from the crippled boy and will be taken away from him every night until the courts dispose of the case of the two youths.

It was Clarence, William, and their elder brother Ernest who robbed the Buckeye Clothing store of over $600 in merchandise and carried their loot through the culvert that leads from behind the Buckeye store to the Muskingum River. They carried the clothing in a boat to Little Hocking, where they shipped it to Akron. The boys were caught in Akron and brought to Marietta. 

Arraigned before Judge Follett in common pleas court last week, Ernest Lemmon pleaded not guilty to the charge of robbing the Buckeye Store. Clarence, the peg leg, pleaded guilty in an effort, it is believed, to obtain the mercy of the court, while William, the youngest of the trio, was detained for action of the probate court.

The law provides that juvenile prisoners not be imprisoned with the other inmates of a county prison. The only place in which juvenile prisoners can in anywise be securely confined in the county jail, is by placing them in a small room, just opposite the wash room of the jail. There is but one window in this room, and covering it is a large iron-barred affair provided with a heavy lock. It was through this window that the boys escaped. How the peg-leg youth climbed the eavespout onto the roof of the court house is a mystery. It must have been a difficult feat, even for his brother, who is very small for his age.


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