American Wanted in Glendale Foiled in Italian Jailbreak

Associated Press

An American businessman wanted for murder in Glendale tried to escape from prison Thursday but was captured by guards, an official said.

The escape attempt could delay the extradition of John Barrett Hawkins, 28, to the United States. Hawkins will be tried in Italy first for trying to flee the maximum-security Buancammino prison, the jail's director said.

Hawkins, former co-owner of the Ohio-based Just Sweats clothing firm, is wanted by Glendale police in a 1988 murder-for-insurance fraud. Hawkins, a former model, was arrested on the Italian island of Sardinia last August after three years on the run. He is wanted in the slaying of Ellis Henry Greene, a North Hollywood bookkeeper. California prosecutors say Hawkins and two partners planned to identify Greene's body as that of another man to collect $1.5 million in life insurance.

Italian officials said Hawkins used a hacksaw to cut several bars in his cell, then lowered himself to a courtyard using a sheet. Guards spotted him and apprehended him without incident.

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