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Sherman Man Who Lived As Fugitive For Decades Dies After Gaining Freedom

Robert E. Stackowitz of Sherman died at the age of 71. He lived for nearly 50 years as a wanted fugitive.
Robert E. Stackowitz of Sherman died at the age of 71. He lived for nearly 50 years as a wanted fugitive. Photo Credit: Georgia Department of Corrections

SHERMAN, Conn. — A 71-year-old man who hid in plain sight in Sherman for decades while a fugitive from justice died Monday at Danbury Hospital, just weeks after gaining his freedom, his attorneys told the Hartford Courant.

Robert Stackowitz died of numerous health complications, including bladder cancer, congestive heart failure, diabetes and breathing problems, attorney Norm Pattis told the Courant.

Stackowitz's story drew national attention in May after he was arrested at his Sherman home. In 1966 in Georgia, Stackowitz was convicted of robbery by force for driving the getaway car in a house burglary and sentenced to 17 years in prison. In 1968, he escaped from the Carroll County Prison Work Camp, hopped a plane back to Connecticut and lived in Sherman for the next 48 years as Bob Gordon, operating a boat repair business.

Georgia authorities caught up Stackowitz after he blew his cover by applying for Social Security benefits. Georgia sought to try him as a fugitive.

But Stackowitz and his attorneys fought extradition, saying that he was too sick to travel and the returning to Georgia would kill him.

In October, a Connecticut Superior Court judge dismissed all the charges against Stackowitz.

At the time, Stackowitz told the Courant that he wanted to die in his home, not in jail in Georgia.

Click here to read the story at the Hartford Courant.

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