Run to Ground

Inmate Terry Banks broke out of jail in Missouri, prison guard Lynette Barnett by his side. They disappeared for seven weeks - until the law caught up with them in a Victoria County, Texas, trailer park.

Lynette earned her GED and worked as a machine operator in a shoe factory in Hamilton, then as a nurse's aide at a nursing home. Lynette decided to take a job at Crossroads because her husband and his stepfather both worked in the prison system. Lorra thought Lynette was too shy to be a guard; she didn't think she was aggressive enough. Lynette is a woman who doesn't talk to strangers unless they speak to her first. Dave worried, too. He drilled Lynette that inmates would want to be her friend, and would try to coerce her to give them things or let them be where they weren't supposed to be.

Lynette told him she could take care of herself, Dave remembers, and started working at the 1,500-bed prison. Dave worked next door at the Western Missouri Correctional Center. When they were off duty, Lynette and Dave cheered for the Kansas City Chiefs, rode ATVs and took criminal justice classes at Wentworth Junior College. A few years into their marriage, Lynette got a silver-dollar-size heart tattooed on her left breast with DAVE on the ribbon running through it.

Lorra claims the bad times far outweigh those happy moments. She says Dave was possessive, controlling and abusive.

Terry turned 21 in prison doing life without parole.
Terry turned 21 in prison doing life without parole.
Afternoon delight: Terry and Lynette stroll hand in hand in the prison warehouse.
Afternoon delight: Terry and Lynette stroll hand in hand in the prison warehouse.

She says Lynette left Dave several times, but he said he loved her, and she went back.

Lynette left for the last time after she caught Dave with another woman he worked with, Lorra says. "The little bitch he's living with was sending her e-mails. Real immature stuff."

Dave denies all of Lorra's accusations. He says he never slept around. He doesn't remember Lynette ever leaving him. If you ask him, Lynette was the controlling one. She never wanted him to be alone, he says, and she hassled him about who he talked to and what he did.

Dave says the divorce was his idea. They argued constantly, so he figured they should just go their separate ways. He doesn't know what went wrong or why: They just weren't having fun anymore. "People change," he says, sadly.

In mid-August Lynette got a purple rose tattooed over the DAVE-emblazoned heart. With $100 in her pocket, Lynette moved in with her mother's boyfriend. Underneath Harold Lockwood's rundown farmhouse Lynette slept in a plain utility basement with a hot water heater, a washer/dryer, a shower stall and a Sheetrock wall. She took her red roan horse, Zazzy, her cat and the medicine to control her epilepsy. She had a dresser and a full-size bed with a peach comforter and a country-blue afghan her grandmother had crocheted. She didn't have any pictures, Lorra says, because the place was only temporary -- just until she got on her feet. Lynette stopped making the payments on her blue-green Pontiac Grand Am. Since the title was in both their names, the credit company went after Dave. He didn't know where the car was, so he reported it stolen. (He later found out it was parked at Lorra's house.)

Harold bought Lynette a black 1989 Ford F-150. He put the title in her maiden name, L.J. Moots. She was supposed to gradually pay him back the $1,800, just like she was supposed to pay him $500 a month in rent.

Dave says he was surprised when Lynette stopped talking to him at night-school classes. He says he was more surprised the night she and her family broke into his house and stole his appliances and his dogs. Dave tried to stop them, but when he couldn't, he borrowed his neighbor's camera with a date-and-time stamp on it and took pictures of them hauling away his stuff; then he gave them to his lawyer.

She filed an ex parte order against him. He filed one against her.

It was about the time she moved out of her husband's house, if not sooner, that a romance between Lynette and Terry must have started, police say. Lynette's happily-ever-after had fallen apart: Her husband didn't want to be married to her anymore, and she was living in a basement with blank, white walls. She was vulnerable and she was lonely.

Lynette and Terry have the same red hair (except hers was bleached blond). And he has a tattoo of a Tasmanian devil on his left arm (and one of her three rottweilers is named Taz). Both Terry's and Lynette's parents had divorced and remarried and divorced each other, and the two had both dropped out of high school. They had a lot in common.

"She was infatuated," says FBI agent Lipanovich. "If you want to say she's in love, fine. He's in love with his freedom."

Lynette worked in the prison's control tower, then the housing area, and then the food service section where Terry was assigned. Terry bragged to his roommate about their affair. Sex in prison is common, but heterosexual sex is a coup. Rumors are that Terry got Lynette pregnant and she miscarried ten days before their escape, according to officials close to the case. The food service section has boxes stacked floor to ceiling, leaving corridors and corners that cameras don't cover. Plus there are restricted areas, like restrooms, where cameras aren't allowed, Lipanovich says. There are plenty of spaces security cameras can't see.

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