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Murderer who escaped prison in 1977 caught in Florida, officials say

Crime, Law and JusticeHomicideCrimePersonal ServiceBroward CountyU.S. ArmyDeerfield Beach

The U.S. Marshals Service never forgets a face.

James Robert Jones learned that the hard way this week when nearly four decades after allegedly escaping from federal prison in Kansas, marshals used facial-recognition technology to track him down in Florida.

Authorities say Jones, 59, escaped from a maximum security prison in Ft. Leavenworth in 1977 while serving a 23-year sentence. Jones has been convicted three years earlier for premeditated murder and aggravated assault while he was a private in the U.S. Army.

In recent months, several leads flowed into a national sex offender targeting center and Army police, which in turn asked the Marshals Service to rekindle the search for Jones -- who was listed on the Army's 15 Most Wanted list.

Using a facial recognition database, authorities matched Jones to a man living in Florida under the name Bruce Walter Keith. Officials say Jones obtained a driver’s license under the Keith pseudonym in 1981 and changed the day and month of his birth but not the year. He also used his actual Florida address in Deerfield Beach, officials said.

“Capturing a cold case fugitive who has been on the run for almost 37 years is a great arrest for law enforcement,” said William Snelson of the Marshals Service. “But it is also comforting to the families of the original victim to know the person who escaped from custody is now behind bars again.”

Agents with the Marshals Service followed Jones from his home Thursday morning and arrested him at work. Fingerprinting at the Broward County Sheriff’s Office confirmed authorities had the right man, officials said.

Jones was booked into Broward County jail and is waiting to be transferred into Army custody.

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Twitter: @josephserna

Joseph.serna@latimes.com

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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Crime, Law and JusticeHomicideCrimePersonal ServiceBroward CountyU.S. ArmyDeerfield Beach
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