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Man Arrested 30 Years After Escape

January 23, 1998

ATLANTA (AP) _ Thirty years ago, murder convict L.J. Beckham escaped from a Georgia prison along with 14 other prisoners who overpowered guards.

On Thursday, his life on the lam ended.

L.J. Beckham, 62, was arrested Wednesday night at his trailer park home in Stockton, Calif., Georgia Department of Corrections spokesman Mike Light said.

``I thought you had forgotten about me,″ Beckham reportedly told authorities at the time of his arrest. ``How did you find me after all these years?″

Beckham had married and was living under the alias Ralph Knox but had sometimes used his real name since escaping from the old Lowndes-Troupdale Prison Branch in Valdosta in March 1968.

He was among 15 prisoners who escaped. Until now, all but Beckham had been recaptured.

A random check of California’s driver’s license database turned him up, Light said.

Beckham fled Georgia shortly after shooting a man to death in March 1961. He was apprehended nine months later in San Francisco and returned to Georgia, where he was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

On Thursday, Beckham was in the Sacramento County Jail pending his decision to fight or waive extradition.

He has not served enough time to be considered for parole, and it was unclear how the state’s Board of Pardons and Paroles will treat his case, Light said.

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