Jessup officers foil convicted killer's escape

January 17, 2008|By Gus G. Sentementes | Gus G. Sentementes,Sun reporter

A man serving multiple life sentences for killing four people, including two pregnant women, in Baltimore County in 1987 tried to escape early yesterday from a maximum-security prison in Jessup but was caught by correctional officers as he tried to scale a fence, according to prison officials.

Rico Marzano, who turned 40 Saturday, ran from a building at the Jessup Correctional Institution about 5 a.m. He tried to climb a security fence, which is topped with razor wire, corrections officials said. He triggered electronic motion sensors and officers ran to him and pulled him off the fence, they said.

Rick Binetti, spokesman for the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, said officials are investigating how Marzano managed to leave one of the buildings.

"It's unclear how he got out of the facility, but we have these redundant systems set up" to catch inmates who try to escape, Binetti said.

Marzano was serving four life sentences for killing two women and their husbands during a drug dispute in Bowleys Quarters in September 1987. The victims were found lying face-down and had been shot in the backs of their heads, according to news reports at the time.

Marzano confessed to the killings, telling authorities that he did it to steal 50 pounds of marijuana worth about $70,000 at the time. While in jail awaiting trial, Baltimore County authorities caught him plotting an escape from the county detention center.

Hours after he was convicted in June 1987, Marzano briefly escaped from Maryland state troopers who were escorting him back to prison. He kicked out the window of a police cruiser and ran away before troopers caught him.

According to electronic court records, Marzano has been incarcerated in at least two maximum-security prisons in Maryland: Supermax in Baltimore and the Maryland House of Correction-Annex, which is now called the Jessup Correctional Institution.

Marzano has a Web page posted on a prison pen pal Web site called "Friends Beyond The Wall." Binetti said that Marzano is not allowed Internet access, and he said the page might have been set up by mail, or possibly with help from a friend.

On the page, Marzano includes photos of himself - including one where he poses like a body-builder - and states that he is looking to correspond with women. He describes himself as an Italian-American, who is "very friendly" and has a "great sense of humor."

"Everyone's looking for that one true soul mate in their life, someone that really makes them happy," Marzano wrote. "Maybe we can find what we are looking for together."

Marzano may have also previously stayed at the North Branch Correctional Institution, a new maximum-security prison near Cumberland. He listed that prison as the address for people to send letters to him.

gus.sentementes@baltsun.com

Sun reporter Greg Garland contributed to this report.

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