December 1997, Pennsylvania | A prisoner in the
new Allegheny County Jail in Pittsburgh attempted to evade his
punishment by engineering an escape from his confinement. Jerome
constructed a hundred-foot rope of bedsheets, broke through
a supposedly shatter-proof cell window, and began to climb to
freedom down his makeshift ladder.
It is not known whether his plan took into account the curiosity
of drivers on the busy street and Liberty Bridge below. It certainly
did not take into account the sharp edges of the glass, the
worn nature of the bedsheet, or the great distance to the pavement.
The bottom of the knotted bedsheet was eighty-six feet short
of the ground. But our hero did not reach the end of his rope.
The windowpane sliced through the weak cloth and dropped him
to his untidy demise 150 feet below.
But wait, there's more!
Apparently the jailhouse rumor of the previous death did not
reach a prisoner who was awaiting transfer to a federal penitentiary
one year later. He tied eight bedsheets together and rappelled
from his seventh-floor window, only to find that the rope fell
twenty-five feet short of the ground. Luckier than Jerome, he
merely fractured his ankle and scraped his face.
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Reference: Louisville Eccentric Observer, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette