One of the U.S. Army’s “15 Most Wanted” fugitives – on the run since he escaped from a military prison in Kansas in 1977 – appeared in court Friday, one day after he was arrested after showing up for work in Pompano Beach.
James Robert Jones, 59, had been using a fake Florida driver’s license since 1981 and had been living in Deerfield Beach under the alias Bruce Walter Keith since at least 2005, according to the U.S. Marshals Service. Jones, who used his mother's birth date, but with his actual birth year, even shielded his true identity to his wife.
But after 37 years on the run, the gig was up when the Marshals Service found him by running an old prison picture through their facial recognition database.
"He stated that he knew this would catch up with him one day... After all these years, the first words out of his mouth was, 'I knew this would catch up with me one day,'" Barry Golden of the Marshals Service, said.
Jones appeared in Broward bond court Friday, where he was ordered held without bond.
No one answered the door at his home in Deerfield Beach, but neighbors are still in disbelief.
“Wow, wow, all I can say, I can hardly believe it," one woman said.
The U.S. Army private was convicted of premeditated murder and aggravated assault in 1974, the Marshals Service said in a news release.
He was serving a 23-year sentence when he escaped from a maximum-security federal prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas in 1977.
In January the Army asked for the Marshals Service' help finding Jones. Investigators used a facial recognition database and found a positive match for Jones, living under his alias in Florida.
Members of the U.S. Marshals Florida Regional Fugitive Task Force surveilled Jones' residence Thursday morning and followed him to Pompano Beach, where they arrested him without incident when he arrived for work, the Marshals Service said.
A positive fingerprint match was taken from Jones at the Broward Sheriff's Office, according to the Marshals Service.
Jones has been booked into the Broward County Main Jail on a military hold, online jail records show. He will be held there until the U.S. Army takes custody, authorities said.
It wasn’t immediately known whether he has an attorney.
Jones changed his birth date on official documents, but used his actual birth year of 1954 and his real address in Deerfield Beach, the Marshals Service said.