Palm Springs Killer Makes Bold Escape From Folsom

Times Staff Writer

A former Palm Springs man who escaped from Folsom Prison by crawling through a storm drain after security bars had been cut remained at large Saturday, and authorities believe he is only the third prisoner in a quarter-century to break out from behind the granite walls of the maximum-security penitentiary.

A statewide all-points bulletin was issued for Glen S. Godwin, 28, a convicted murderer who repeatedly stabbed his victim and attempted to destroy the body by blowing it up in a car. Investigators said they had no information as to Godwin's whereabouts and said he is considered dangerous.

The bold escape--including the use of an inflatable raft--involved "considerable planning" and help from outside the prison, said Lt. Mike Yarborough, a prison spokesman.

Folsom Prison, which houses about 5,000 of the state's most dangerous convicts, is located 25 miles northeast of Sacramento.

Cut Security Bars

Godwin was discovered to be missing at 11 a.m. Friday and a search of the prison grounds revealed cut security bars at a storm drain located inside a walled prison yard. To escape, Godwin crawled through a 1,000-foot-long stretch of storm drain, where two more sets of thick bars had to be cut.

Prison officials believe that someone had previously cut the storm drain bars for Godwin because only three hours elapsed from the time his escape was detected and when police determined the escape route.

"That just isn't sufficient time to cut through all the bars and make the escape," Yarborough said.

The drain lets out in a secluded brushy area on the bank of the American River. About one-eighth of a mile upstream, searchers found an inflatable raft and Godwin's prison clothes. Police dogs lost track of his scent on a nearby hilltop.

"We have no information that focuses on an area where he could be now," Yarborough said.

Godwin, who was sentenced to 26 years to life for the 1980 murder, had been ordered to Folsom five months ago after he was suspected of plotting an escape from Deuel Vocational Institute in Tracy, Calif. He had been at Deuel since 1981, a prison spokesman said.

Worked in Palm Springs

Previous to his conviction in Riverside Superior Court, Godwin had worked as a tool supplier in Palm Springs.

His escape from fortress-like Folsom is believed to be only the third in about 25 years. One inmate, who was later apprehended, escaped in May, 1986. Another inmate, who is still free, broke out in 1983.

"Beyond those, there have been very, very few escapes in the history of the prison," Yarborough said. The prison was opened in 1880.

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