Grand Jury Indicts One Of Two Arrested Top FBI Fugitives
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ One of two fugitives captured this week after being at large for 18 years has been indicted on new charges in case officials are unable to convict him in the 1968 deaths of two Nashville police officers, federal officials said Friday.
Charles Lee Herron was indicted Thursday on a charge of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, giving prosecutors two chances of putting him behind bars, said U.S. Attorney Joe Brown.
The purpose of the unlawful flight warrants are to empower the FBI to join in manhunts, Brown said. The charge is normally dismissed when the suspect is captured and returned for trial on local charges.
Because of the longevity of the murder case, federal prosecutors will take the new charge to trial, Brown said. The charge carries a five-year prison term and a $5,000 fine.
Herron, who held the record for the longest time on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List, was arrested Tuesday in Jacksonville, Fla., with William Garrin Allen II, a Tennessee prison escapee convicted of murder in the deaths of the two officers.
Herron, 49, had been sought ever since Nashville officers Charles Wayne Thomasson and Thomas Johnson were shot to death in a predominantly black neighborhood during a racially tense period. Johnson was black and Thomasson was white.
Tennessee Gov. Lamar Alexander has not been contacted by anyone about the extradition of Herron and Allen, Janice Mashburn, a spokeswoman for the governor, said Friday.
″When we get some sort of request, we’ll take some action. But the governor’s legal counsel says nothing has been requested of the governor yet.″
Davidson County District Attorney General Tom Shriver did not return a reporter’s telephone call Friday.
Earlier, Shriver said evidence in the 1968 shootings is scattered,
After news of the arrests, Shriver said his staff began pulling the case file together ″from two or three places in the office,″ while police began trying to locate witnesses.
Meanwhile, Herron faces an identity and detention hearing Monday in federal court in Jacksonville, said his lawyer, Assistant Public Defender James Burke.