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Last of Three Escapees Nabbed 25 Miles From Prison

May 10, 1988

MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. (AP) _ A convicted murderer who escaped from the state prison was nabbed 25 miles away Monday after he spent more than a month living in the woods, surviving on a diet that included a groundhog, state police said.

Tommie Mollohan, who was serving a life term for the robbery and murder of a Brounland grocer in 1973, was captured in a remote wooded area near Cameron, said state police Trooper S.P. Singleton.

Mollohan had remained at large since he escaped with two other murderers from the maximum security unit April 3.

A resident had reported seeing Mollohan Sunday night and he was spotted during a search Monday morning.

Local police, state conservation officers and authorities with tracking dogs joined the pursuit as searchers chased Mollohan up one thickly wooded ridge and down another before capturing him.

The escapee had been carrying a dismantled .22-caliber rifle in a garbage bag but ditched it during the pursuit, Singleton said. Mollohan was carrying only a chocolate syrup bottle, hanging from his neck on a string, as a water canteen when he was apprehended, the trooper said.

Authorities said he spent the time living in the woods on abandoned farm land.

″He showed us some places where he stayed - one of them was a lean-to. But mostly he slept under the stars. He said he caught him a groundhog once, and he said he found some eggs that he ate,″ Singleton said.

The prisoner weighed about 230 pounds when he escaped, and lost between 45 and 65 pounds while on the lam, Singleton said.

Mollohan faces administrative escape charges through the prison’s internal disciplinary system, said Jerrie Clutter, secretary to Warden Jerry Hedrick.

Criminal escape charges probably will be dropped in view of his life sentence, Singleton said.

Penitentiary officials described Mollohan, 45, as the mastermind of the breakout by the three escapees, all of whom were serving life sentences without chance of parole.

Escapee Bobby Dean Stacy, 35, convicted of killing one police officer and charged with shooting another, was arrested April 14 in Columbus, Ohio.

The third escapee, David Williams, 28, convicted of murder, arson and robbery, was caught late last month in Mercer County.

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