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In 1992, a gay guy known as Steve Jay Russell escaped from Harris County Jail, to take care of his partner, Jim Kemple who was dying of AIDS.

He escaped by impersonating a prison’s guard. He diligently observed the prison’s guards, got a t-shirt and some red sweat pants and stole a Walkie Talkie. He walked out of the prison just like that— the guards thought he was an undercover police officer. He spent 2 years on the run with his partner before he was eventually apprehended again by the police. His partner died while he was in prison.

While still prison in May 1996, his pending trial was a 45-year sentence for theft and his bail was set at $900,000. Afraid to spend 45 years in prison, Russell impersonated a judge. Pretending to be the judge, he called the district clerk’s office and reduced his bail amount to $45,000. He was freed on that bail and he fled. He was caught three days later.

5 months later, he plotted his third escape and it was successful. He walked out the prison’s front door dressed as a doctor and pretending to be one. He pulled that off successfully by using water and Magic Marker pen to dye his prison clothes to green. He fled to Mississippi but was arrested ten days later.

Russell’s fourth and final escape from prison in 1998 was even more elaborate and well planned. He falsified his medical records, intentionally lost a huge amount of weight and faked the symptoms of someone dying of late stage AIDS.

The Prison’s authority believed he was truly dying of AIDS so they admitted him to a nearby hospice on parole. While in the hospital, Russell called the hospice from an internal phone, and then pretended to be a doctor specialising in experimental AIDS treatment. He had himself taken away from the centre to take part in a fictitious AIDS treatment. He later declared himself dead. He was free again.

He was later caught and given a 144-year sentence.


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