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Last Two Texas Escapees Surrender After Outlining Reasons for Break Out

Aired January 24, 2001 - 6:00 a.m. ET


LINDA STOUFFER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to the second hour of AHEAD OF THE CURVE on this Wednesday morning. It is 6:00 a.m. Eastern time. I'm Linda Stouffer.


Lots of developing stories to tell you about this morning, but the first story that we want to tell you about, and it -- really the only story of the morning has to do with those two Texas inmates.

Right now, these are pictures that we have, showing you. This is those two inmates -- Donald Newbury, Patrick Murphy, Jr. -- who gave themselves up within the past half hour, this happening right after they had given an interview to a local reporter there from KKTV, the affiliate there. They spoke to Eric Singer and outlined the reasons for why they had escaped from prison: to prove a point, saying that there was something wrong with the Texas penal system.

Once police had agreed to this interview, these two men agreed to give themselves up. Apparently, it was peaceful, no shots were fired, and the whole thing took place without incident.

LINDA STOUFFER, CNN ANCHOR: That's right. Patrick Murphy Jr. spoke with the reporter first. Then Donald Newbury had some things to say. We want to let you in -- let you listen in, rather, to what Donald Newbury had to say to that local journalist. Here's the tape from just a while ago.


ERIC SINGER, KKTV REPORTER: ... to end the situation peacefully.

Donald, are you on the line with me?


SINGER: Hi, Donald. And I -- I assume that you're watching television. If you could, just to make sure, just tell Patrick to go ahead and keep that -- keep the volume down low, so that way there won't be any feedback.

NEWBURY: All right, I've got the remote.

SINGER: OK, great.

OK, Donald, at this point why don't you go ahead. I have the timekeeper waiting. If you could, go ahead, and when I end, go ahead and start with your five minutes, all right?

NEWBURY: All right.

SINGER: All right, go ahead, sir.

NEWBURY: Well, the way I see it is I had to make a statement. Our judicial system in the state of Texas has really gone to pits. We're receiving 99 years for a robbery for $68, nobody injury -- injured.

There's no proof that a gun was used in the robbery, other than an unreliable witness that picked out several IDs and everything before, which created a statement through information of my priors and everything else that apparently the prosecutor had given to him, which is strictly against the law as well. We have a Texas ranger. He admitted in trial that the evidence was tainted. Yet, I received 99 years.

The same day I went to trial, there was a man that cut another man's nuts off during an aggravated robbery of a convenience store and got 40 years. I don't see how the system is actually working. It's fallen. I don't hold it against the administration or the officers involved in what we're doing.

I've done crime -- you've got to face the music. But there's got to be something within reason in the state of Texas. They're giving kids so much time that they will never get to see light again. Their life is gone. Now all they are is a roach in a cage.

Things have to be changed. There needs to be more rehabilitation in the system down there. You know, I can't -- couldn't even go to college. Oh, Lord, you can't go to college. Come on, where's the rehabilitation when you can't even help yourself?

The whole thing from the beginning, from our self-extraction from the unit, that was done very peacefully as possible. We hurt the officers very little. There was only the ones that resisted. It could have been a bloodbath; we could have been out of there in 30 minutes instead of 2 1/2 hours. We took time to take these people and do it gently instead of 30 minutes.

We are not trying to start a big bum rush, but I have a feeling that the fences are fixing to be rushed hard, because of the time they're given. And even if you do make parole, the way they've got the system set up, it's going to make you fall. I've been told to quit my jobs, and stuff like that, by parole officers. What kind of system tells you, look, you're doing good, you're earning $8 an hour, you know, you just got out the joint -- quit your job. I don't understand it.

The system needs to be checked. It needs to be rebuilt, reconstructed. I'm not saying do away with it or nothing else; I'm just saying make something that will work. The Texas system's not working. I had to threaten to beat my attorneys -- beat my attorney up -- so I could get another attorney, because my first attorney had spent three months and hadn't even come talk to me. What kind of judicial system gives you a defense that won't even show up?

All right -- hello?

SINGER: Hello, I'm here.

NEWBURY: All right.

SINGER: I'm here, I'm listening to you. I just didn't want to interrupt you.

NEWBURY: All right, that's pretty much what I've got to say, is we had a statement to make that the system is as corrupt as we are. If you're going to do something about us, well, do something about that system, too. It is going to take the public, and it's going to take a lot of screaming and hollering.

And the reason I am stepping out these doors tonight is not from fear because I had been set for the last 40 days to die. I am stepping out of these doors with the sole purpose of honoring the person I love and to keep my voice in the media. I am going to start writing, I'm probably going -- we're both going to do it. We're going to keep screaming, we're going to start trying to get something changed.

Something's got to change. You're killing people. Now are we killing people that did something wrong? You're tearing families apart.

There's one incident where a guy got paroled. He got dressed up to go out and see his mother and stuff out there, and they turn around and turn him back in, sent him back to his unit. What kind of mental anguish, what kind of cruelty is that? That's the same as public hangings, except you are tearing up families too.

SINGER: All right, Donald, at this point...


SINGER: ... The timekeeper has indicated to me that you have made your five-minute statement.


SINGER: You and Patrick, as part of your commitment with the negotiating team, and basically your commitment with 11 News and myself...


SINGER: ... as honorable men, you must go outside immediately...

NEWBURY: No problem. SINGER: ... to resolve the situation peacefully, and at this point, without weapons. And as per your agreement, don't hang up the phone, though...


SINGER: ... but if you could, go ahead and just honor your agreement so that way we can all end this situation peacefully. Your message and Patrick's message have gotten across.

NEWBURY: Thank you.

SINGER: Thank you, sir.

NEWBURY: All right, I'm going to put the phone down and stand up and take my shirt off and start to get the door ready to come out.

SINGER: Absolutely, please leave the phone -- do not hang up the phone. Thank you, sir.

NEWBURY: I won't.

SINGER: OK, at this point -- at this point, what we're doing -- we'll continue to listen to what's happening right now. Donald Newbury and Patrick Murphy have both agreed to honor their commitment and to go outside immediately without weapons and end this situation peacefully.

So we'll go ahead and just wait at this point. I will get a go ahead from the individual police entities and FBI and the other entities here -- law enforcement agencies -- to indicate the fact that this has actually happened.

So we'll wait a few moments. So we'll just -- we'll be playing a sort of waiting game as we learn if they will honor their agreement, which I believe -- they have talked with negotiating teams for the last few hours to be able to indicate the fact they wanted to make their statement made, they wanted to go outside and end the situation peacefully.

They made their statements without any interruption, as we agreed, five minutes apiece. So at this point, we're going to continue to wait. So I'm waiting right now to be able to hear from law enforcement agencies exactly what happened.

So we will continue to wait. At this point, while we're waiting, let's recap exactly what we were listening to.


CARROLL: And as you may have guessed by now, those two men did in fact give themselves up -- Donald Newbury and Patrick Murphy Jr. -- after completing an interview with Eric Singer, there from KKTV.

Very interesting, fascinating, to listen in on all of this. Apparently, during their statement, both men had said that they were upset with the judicial system, Donald Newbury saying "it had gone to the pits." And he was upset over serving his 99-year sentence for aggravated robbery, saying the evidence in his trial was tainted, saying over and over again that the system simply was not working.

Right now, you are looking at some pictures of the surrender that took place shortly after that interview, both men giving themselves up without incident. You can see there that they had dyed their hair, which is probably the reason why so many people were unable to recognize them. Their hair also much longer than in the pictures that we had seen.

STOUFFER: That's right. And that surrender happened just about 20 minutes ago in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

To just kind of set you up with what had happened yesterday, police had discovered that a van that they believe the two men had been using was abandoned in a parking lot in Colorado Springs. And if you can believe this, just about a block or two away, they then got a tip that these two men were in a hotel. Sure enough, they were able to establish contact with them, and those two men were in a hotel room at the Holiday Inn there, in Colorado Springs, just off the interstate.

And just to recap as well, we're talking about Patrick Murphy Jr. and Donald Newbury. Both surrendered to police within the last half-hour.

And to give you the total picture, as you might remember, seven men escaped from a Texas prison in south Texas, mid-December, December 13th. And four of them were taken into custody on Monday, in Colorado -- in Woodland Park, Colorado. One of the men committed suicide. The last two were on the loose. Now they are in custody, after a standoff with police that lasted just about five hours or so.

CARROLL: Several hours of negotiation there. During the whole time, police saying that the negotiations were calm, that both men seemed to be wanting to talk to them.

But again, this whole thing ending just a few moments ago after a lengthy interview with a local reporter there, where both men had outlined their reasons for the escape, saying that they were upset with the judicial system there in Texas.

We're going to have more for you on this in just a few moments. We're going to take a quick break, and we're going to come back, hopefully with more on Donald Newbury's interview, as well as Patrick Murphy Jr.'s interview, both men.

STOUFFER: That's right, and our reporter Frank Buckley is there on the scene. We are going to hook up with him in just a few minutes to get his view of things, right there on the scene in Colorado Springs.

Each man had five minutes to speak with that local reporter, and as you saw, we were able to air that. Local stations in Colorado actually aired that live, and then the men, as they had agreed to do, surrendered peacefully to police.

Quick break here, we'll be right back with more developments, after this.



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