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Published: Friday, 11/18/2005

Second Iowa prison escapee captured in Missouri


FORT MADISON, Iowa - The second inmate who escaped from an Iowa prison was captured today in southern Missouri, Iowa officials said.

Robert Joseph Legendre, 27, was captured in Caruthersville, Mo., said Fred Scaletta, an Iowa prisons spokesman. Legendre was convicted in Nevada in the kidnapping and attempted murder of a Las Vegas cabbie. His capture comes a day after another inmate, Martin Moon, 34, was caught near Chester, Ill., southeast of St. Louis.

Prison officials said Moon and Legendre, who had been working in prison industries, escaped using a makeshift rope fashioned from upholstery webbing and a homemade grappling hook on Monday. The inmates climbed over the wall near an unoccupied guard tower, and were discovered missing around 6 p.m.

Police in Randolph County, Ill., discovered Moon after officials at Illinois' Menard State Penitentiary called to report a car parked nearby. When an officer stopped to run on a check on its license plates, Moon drove off, but crashed into a fence, authorities said. Moon then tried to run away before being caught by a police dog.

Moon agreed to be returned to Iowa and was back at the state prison this morning, said Fred Scaletta, Corrections Department spokesman.

An investigation of the escape has begun, Gov. Tom Vilsack said. "There were a series of mistakes that were made," he said.

A corrections official has said the guard tower near the spot where the inmates went over the wall was unmanned at the time because of budget cuts.

Moon was convicted of murder in 2000 for shooting his roommate during a drug deal in 1990.

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com.

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