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Army Colonel Named Corrections Commissioner

February 25, 1992

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) _ A retiring Army colonel was named state corrections commissioner Tuesday as the search for one of three convicted murderers who escaped last week focused on eastern Ohio.

Col. Nicholas Hun was named to replace Corrections Commissioner Ron Gregory, who resigned Friday after officials discovered the three convicts had been able to spend months digging a tunnel without being detected.

Hun, 50, a military police commander, will assume his duties in 30 days, when he retires from the Army.

Gov. Gaston Caperton, who announced Hun’s appointment, said he had no immediate plans to replace Carl Legursky, warden at the West Virginia Penitentiary in Moundsville.

Tomie Mollohan, David Williams and Fred Hamilton escaped Feb. 19 through a 32-foot tunnel they dug from the dirt-floored prison greenhouse.

Authorities said Hamilton, 34, kidnapped a 60-year-old man from his home near the prison Monday and forced him to drive 155 miles to Erie, Pa. Richard L. Porter, was released unharmed and the kidnapper fled in a stolen car.

Public Safety Secretary Joseph Skaff said the stolen car was spotted in Ohio and authorities were looking for Hamilton in the Cleveland area.

West Virginia authorities searched Marshall County, surrounding the prison 80 miles southwest of Pittsburgh, for Mollohan, 49, and Williams, 33, state police said.

All three men were serving life terms for murder. All had escaped before. On Monday, law enforcement officials said state officials knew seven months ago that six inmates, including the three escapees, were planning to tunnel their way to freedom.

Skaff said the greenhouse has been dismantled. He said he still is trying to determine how the imnates dug the tunnel without guards noticing it.

Update hourly