Tenn. fugitive caught in N.Y. as transit cheat

December 10, 1991|By New York Daily News

NEW YORK -- A subway turnstile did what Tennessee authorities couldn't do in 11 years: catch Billy Forrest.

Forrest, a convicted armed robber, was serving a 45-year sentence when he escaped from a minimum-security facility in Nashville on July 4, 1980.

For 11 1/2 years, Forrest eluded the law. Until yesterday.

Trying to beat the $1.15 fare, Forrest, 52, hopped a turnstile at the Times Square subway station and into the waiting arms of Transit Police Officer John Palmieri, transit police said.

When police ran a background check, they discovered that Forrest was an escaped convict. Tennessee correction officials said Forrest had robbed grocery stores at gunpoint in 1964 and 1975, and was sentenced to 45 years in prison.

"Forty-five years for armed robbery. Tough town, Nashville," said Al O'Leary, a transit police spokesman.

Forrest faces an additional five years for escape, said Charles Bass, assistant commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Correction, and parole is unlikely.

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