Legal Escape for Florida's 'Prison Houdini' Could be Blocked

Mark DeFriest 'Prison Houdini'
Posted at 9:47 PM, Jul 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-12 17:51:46-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - A man known as a "prison Houdini" for a series of jail escapes could see the opportunity for his first legal escape dashed after 36 years in prison.

Florida's parole board will decide Wednesday whether Mark DeFriest's parole should be rescinded.

DeFriest didn't wait for his father's will to be executed in 1979 before taking the mechanic tools left to him, and he was convicted of stealing them in 1980. His original four-year sentence spiraled into a virtual life term after a series of escapes and disciplinary issues.

But the parole commission voted more than a year ago to reduce his sentence and DeFriest hoped to be released this year. The board now is reconsidering its decision based on disciplinary issues since the original vote.