Clarence Carnes; Survived Bid to Escape Alcatraz

From Staff and Wire Reports

The only survivor of an abortive escape attempt from Alcatraz in 1946 has died at the Medical Center for Federal Prisoners here.

Clarence Carnes, known as the Choctaw Kid and the youngest man ever admitted to “The Rock,” died Oct. 3 at the age of 61 after spending most of his life in prisons.

Carnes was 18 when sent to the island prison in San Francisco Bay in 1945.

Early the next year, he was drawn into a daring escape plot that quickly went awry. Two guards were killed and several were wounded and the six fugitives who participated got control of little more than one cell house.


When it was over, three of the escapees were dead and two others, Miran Edgar Thompson and Sam Shockley, were executed. Carnes was spared the death penalty because he had refused to murder several guards he had been assigned to kill.

The bloody escape attempt was the subject of at least two movies.

Carnes committed his first crime at the age of 8 by stealing candy bars at school.

In 1943, he was sentenced to life in prison after he pleaded guilty to the murder of an Oklahoma service station attendant during a holdup.


He and two other men escaped from the state reformatory and commandeered a truck with an elderly couple in it. He was convicted on kidnaping charges and was sentenced to 99 years at the U.S. Penitentiary in Leavenworth.

But he was a disciplinary problem who kept trying to escape and was transferred to Alcatraz.

In 1963, four months before Alcatraz was closed, Carnes was transferred to Springfield and then back to Leavenworth.

In 1970 he was paroled to Oklahoma, where he still had time to serve on the murder sentence.


Carnes was released to federal parole in 1973. He lived in the Kansas City area after that, but his parole was revoked twice for minor infractions. He was to be released from prison again next month.