LEAVENWORTH, Kan. - When US Marshals approached James Robert Jones on a South Florida street Thursday morning, the man convicted of murdering a fellow Army private 40 years ago did not try to fight or flee, but surrendered peacefully, and will soon return to a maximum security prison here, 37 years after he escaped.
"I knew it would catch up to me one day," Jones reportedly told law enforcement.
The former Army private was convicted of murder in 1974, while stationed at New Jersey's Ft. Dix, and ordered to carry out his 23 year sentence at the US Disciplinary Barracks on Ft. Leavenworth.
In 1977 Jones escaped from the facility, the US Military's only maximum security prison, where imposing walls and towers earned it the nickname the "Castle." He spent the next 37 years on the lam.
Barry Golden, a senior inspector with the US Marshals Service in Miami, which coordinated the investigation that led to Jones arrest, described his initial escape nearly four decades ago as "very elaborate."
In January, Army investigators, believing Jones to now be living in Florida, contacted Golden's office for assistance. Marshals ran a prison photo of Jones through a database, and it matched closely with the photo on a Florida driver’s license first issued in 1981.
Marshals began observing the man they thought to be Jones, now living under the false name Bruce Keith, and on Thursday morning, arrested him outside his work location in nearby Pompano Beach.
According to Golden, Jones had been living a complete new life in Florida. He had "significant others," Golden told 41 Action News, declining to go into detail, and told investigators he was only one year from retirement.
Jones will soon be extradited back to Kansas to resume his sentence, Golden said, and will likely far additional charges related to his escape.