Pubdate: Thu, 17 Nov 2005
Source: Des Moines Register (IA)
Copyright: 2005 The Des Moines Register.
Author: Kevin Dobbs,  Register Staff Writer
Bookmark: Bookmark: (Incarceration)


Police in southern Illinois today captured convicted murderer Martin 
Shane Moon, who escaped along with another inmate from the Iowa State 
Penitentiary at Fort Madison on Monday.

A Chester, Ill., city police officer found Moon, 34, sleeping alone 
in a car at 3 a.m. in rural Randolph County.

When the officer knocked on the car window, Moon started the car and 
tried to back up. He drove straight into a ditch and then fled on 
foot into a wooded area, police said. The officer called for back-up, 
and about 20 minutes later, a police dog found Moon hiding in a tree.

Moon was unarmed and "easily apprehended," Chester Police Chief Don 
McKinney said. "The dog hit the scent and tracked him right down."

Moon was being held in the Randolph County jail until Iowa 
authorities pick him up later today. He waived extradition.

Randolph County is about 60 miles south of St. Louis, Mo., along the 
Mississippi River. It was not clear why Moon was in that area, but he 
was found parked near a maximum security prison.

"I don't think he knew where he was. It was probably a coincidence - 
probably," said sheriff's Det. Shannon Wolff, who interviewed Moon. 
"We don't know for sure how he got that far."

Eugene Meyer, director of the Iowa Division of Criminal 
Investigation, called it "an interesting place to stop and take a nap."

McKinney said that in interviews Moon indicated he was heading to New 
Orleans 'to blend into all the turmoil down there." It's "so messed 
up down there, he just figured he mix right in," McKinney added.

Moon, who was serving a life sentence, escaped the prison with 
27-year-old Robert Joseph Legendre, who was serving life for 
attempted murder and kidnapping in the state of Nevada. Wolff said he 
had no new information on Legendre, and the search for him continues.

Law enforcement officials in Iowa, Missouri and Illinois have all 
joined the manhunt.

The last major escape at Fort Madison occurred in March 1979, when 
five inmates hid in a large garbage-filled container behind the 
prison dining hall. They were subsequently dumped into a garbage 
truck an transported to a landfill, where four of them were quickly captured.

The fifth inmate was apprehended in Oelwein after 32 hours on the loose.

Moon was found in a dark blue 1989 Ford Crown Victoria that police 
believe was stolen, McKinney said. Officials are still searching for 
a 1995 gold Pontiac Bonneville with Iowa plates 776 NOW. Shortly 
after the escape Monday night, that car was stolen in Fort Madison, 
and authorities said that one or both fugitives might have taken the vehicle.

Iowa authorities said the two men used an improvised rope and a 
grappling hook to scale a limestone prison wall. They apparently were 
not spotted because a nearby guard tower was unmanned due to state 
budget cuts, according to the Iowa Department of Corrections.

They escaped over the west wall of the prison, which is about one 
block from U.S. Highway 61 and about two blocks from a bridge over 
the Mississippi River crossing into Illinois. A guard tower in the 
middle of the west wall is staffed 24 hours a day, but the two 
inmates climbed the wall in the southwest corner, where a guard tower 
is staffed only until 3 p.m. daily.

Gov. Tom Vilsack said today that other factors contributed. He said 
an investigation was launched to determined who is responsible for 
the security lapse.

"There were a series of mistakes that were made inside that prison 
relative to keeping appropriate headcounts, monitoring circumstances 
and situations involving prison industries," Vilsack said. "There was 
no single reason why this escape was successful."

Vilsack said an internal review would lead to improvements and 
prevent future escapes.

"I would anticipate that you will see additional training, a series 
of additional steps that should have been taken that were not taken," he said.

But asked whether the prison was adequately staffed or had been 
appropriated enough money, as some critics in the Iowa Legislature 
have asserted, Vilsack said it's too early to blame anyone.

"Fingerpointing doesn't advance this process," he said. However, he 
promised "to hold the individual or individuals responsible for this 
breach accountable".

Moon was imprisoned in July 2000 and was convicted of first-degree 
murder for the death of Kevin Dickson in Clarke County. Legendre was 
convicted in Nevada and was transferred to Iowa in December 2004.

Register staff writers Tom Beaumont and William Petroski contributed 
to this report.