Night after night, Georgia convicted killer David Scott Franks used hacksaw blades to cut his way toward freedom, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Facing an uncertain execution date for a 1994 murder, Franks had plenty of time and motivation to hatch an elaborate plot to escape from death row. Over 14 months, Franks and two other murderers amassed a remarkable cache of contraband – saw blades, knives, duct tape, clothing, ski masks, cash, even a map of the state – in an escape try from the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison in Jackson. The plan unraveled as corrections officers searched Franks’ cell and noticed a piece of gray string dangling from an air vent. An officer pulled the string and saw that it was secured by a piece of tape that had been painted to conceal a cut in the vent.
Many of the items uncovered in three cells on death row could only have come from outside the prison gates. Warden Derrick Schofield suspects prison employees might have been involved. To avoid detection, inmates studied movements of prison guards and worked mostly at night when their keepers were nowhere near their cells. The inmates had sawed through air vents leading to two of their cells and were working to saw through a door exiting a crawl space. A warden’s report is critical of security at the Jackson prison, one of the state’s two maximum-security facilities. The report questions the practice of allowing death row inmates to crochet with plastic needles. “The crochet program, while beneficial for some of the inmates, is a ruse for making contraband,” the report said.