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“Prison Houdini” Mark DeFriest who escaped jail 13 times finally nearing release

October 7, 2016  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
“Prison Houdini” Mark DeFriest who escaped jail 13 times finally nearing release

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Mark DeFriest who earned the infamous nickname the “Prison Houdini”  and was sentenced to four years behind bars back in 1980 for robbing his late father’s tools, is finally nearing his release – nearly four decades later.

The Florida native was only 19-years-old when a judge sentenced him to the lenient jail term after his stepmother reported the theft to authorities – despite the fact that his late father had given the tools to him in his will.

However, DeFriest, who is now 56, prolonged his stay in custody after he made 13 attempted escapes – seven of which were successfully carried out, the Daily Mail reported.

When Mark DeFriest was a child, he was seen as bizarre but evidently had a unique talent: the capacity to dismantle and repair almost any type of machine. He was managed to build bugs, rewire telephones, and even broadcasted his step-sister’s conversations on a loudspeaker on the street.

Teachers also recognized the man’s above average IQ, but also noted that he was isolated and had conduct problems.

He moved to Florida with his father at 14-years-old, dropped out of high school the following year, and started working as a welder.

When he was 16-years-old, he married a woman named Brenda, who was 21 at the time.

However, after his father died in 1980, his life turned to chaos.

After being issued the four-year jail sentence for theft, DeFriest was admitted to a psychiatric institution where he made his first escape effort.

DeFriest allegedly laced the employee’s drinks with LSD from the dispensary and waited for them begin tripping before making his great escape.

However, the security staff was notified, and his attempt was deemed unsuccessful.

At one point, his parole date was scheduled for 2085, revealing that he would be eligible for release at the age of 125.

Of his time in prison, he spent 27 years in solitary detention as punishment for fleeing or violating other prison laws.

A film documenting his life prompted prison officials to lessen the jail term by 70 years.

He was granted parole for the initial sentenced in March 2015 but is still behind bars for having contraband, such as cannabis, inside of his jail cell.

In one of his escape efforts, Mark DeFriest convinced several prisoners to make a break, and he climbed a fence and hot-wired a car.

Another endeavor involved removing his tooth so he would be sent to a dentist.

He even built a replica gun using toothpaste and items taken from the woodworking shop.

In September, a parole board ordered that DeFriest’s release date would be moved forward.

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