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.

Maybe, like the officers, she was worried that Terry was going to kill himself. The officers had wanted him to come out first -- he was more dangerous -- but he had sent her. Maybe he did love Lynette; maybe he wanted her to be safe. His choices were to die or to go back to prison for life with even less chance of parole. But a few minutes later, at 7:27 a.m., Terry appeared wearing a denim jacket and jeans, his empty hands in the air.

"Put your hands way up, Terry," Cole ordered. "Way, way up."

He was America's Most Wanted capture number 595.

Life wasn't as sexy as Lynette's glamour shot.
Life wasn't as sexy as Lynette's glamour shot.

Lynette called her mother that night from the Victoria County Jail. She wanted to know where Terry was and how he was doing. Harold remembers Faye telling him after she got off the phone that Lynette had said that if it hadn't been for that guy ratting them out, no one would have ever caught them. Faye refused to be interviewed.

Lynette called her sister Lorra that night, too. She said Terry hadn't hurt her, but Lorra doubts that.

An officer asked the fugitives if they were headed to Mexico. They said it hadn't crossed their mind. Other than that, the three refused to be interviewed by the police without counsel.

Along with the sinkful of beer cans, police found Lynette's journal. It's a three- by five-inch notebook covered in blue and burgundy flowers; she probably bought it at the Wal-Mart down the street from Crossroads, Fritz says. She kept notes logging their journey. Fritz won't read an excerpt, but he maintains it doesn't say anything about Lynette being held hostage, hoping to be rescued.

Authorities have statements from the copy clerks that made the blank ID and from a guard who saw Lynette laminating the fake ID at the office. Investigators also studied surveillance videotapes and saw that Lynette looked "thicker" when she walked in one day. They figure she must have worn an old uniform in (from before she lost weight) on top of her other uniform and sneaked it to Terry. Then, he probably changed behind those floor-to-ceiling boxes.

Video shows that Lynette wore the black ball cap with the Department of Corrections emblem into the prison and Terry wore it out, Fritz says.

Investigators have more videotape that they can't talk about. It's evidence, Fritz says, and the trial hasn't started. Maybe it shows Lynette and Terry doing more than holding hands.

Paul and Jeanne say they were just trying to help out a friend. They knew Charlie was an ex-con, and they knew he had a boy in prison somewhere -- but this guy "John" didn't look at all like Charlie. He was bigger -- Terry is six feet tall, and Charlie's only five foot five. Maybe he looks like his mother, Jeanne says now. John was a nice guy. He never said anything nasty or out of line like Charlie.

Paul and Jeanne spent five days in jail. Jeanne's sister didn't have the money to bond them out, so Paul's dad sent $2,000 from Colorado to pay the $10,000 bond each of them has. Jail wasn't as bad as Jeanne thought it would be -- they have television. She says the only time she'd ever been to a prison was to visit a few friends.

Her friend Charlie (who she is no longer fond of) is still stuck behind bars in the Victoria County Jail with bail set at $20,000. The sheriff refused repeated requests to let him be interviewed. In a letter on yellow legal-pad paper, Charlie wrote that his court-appointed attorney said not to talk to the press. "I'm sure we can work around this," he wrote. The next day he called the Press collect. He had a friend call for him to ask if the Press could provide him with better legal counsel. The answer was no. Charlie talked anyway.

In a telephone interview, Charlie's version of the story diverges from Jeanne's only on one point: that of blame. Both say that they don't deserve the third-degree felony charge for harboring a fugitive. Jeanne says Terry and Lynette were just crashing at her house, but they lived with Charlie. Charlie says they lived in the camper and he lived in the one-bedroom apartment by himself. He says that he traveled to Victoria by himself, stayed with Paul and Jeanne, and as soon as Terry and Lynette showed up he moved out.

"I didn't want no trouble," Charlie says. "I didn't do nothing. I'm sticking to that."

He says he has no idea how Terry got to Victoria. He says they were never in Joplin.

But he sold Lynette's truck. So he must have seen them.

"I don't want to talk about that," Charlie says.

Regardless of how Terry got to Texas, Charlie did spend time with his boy, and he met Lynette. Terry told Charlie that Lynette was different. "I really love this girl," Charlie remembers him saying.

In Charlie's version, on the Friday of the stakeout, Paul picked him up from work promising that Jeanne was going to cook dinner. Jeanne is a good cook, so he went. She didn't cook anything, he was hungry, and the next morning he was arrested.

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