Negro Who Declared Would Rather Die Than Go Back to Gang Flees Once More.

Claude Mix, Returned Nine Months Ago From New Jersey After Northern Authorities Wage Futile Fight Against Extradition, Escapes Near Blaney.

Camden, Oct 9. – Claude Mix, Negro prisoner who once before fled a Kershaw county chain-gang and declared from a haven in New Jersey he would “rather die” than go back to the gang, escaped again today, nine months after he had been returned from the Northern state to complete service of a ten-year sentence.

Mix and another prisoner, Ernest Lane, alias Jack Lane, leaped from a truck two miles north of Blaney shortly after 11 o’clock this morning and disappeared into adjacent woods.

A posse was formed immediately to search for them, and Lieut L. J. Campbell and Motorcycle Officer J. V. Smith of the Columbia police department, with bloodhounds, were called in from the Capital City to aid in apprehending the two fugitives, who were still at large last night.

Sheriff McLeod said both men were “bad for escapes.” He noted that Mix previously and escaped on the occasion on which he had finally been recaptured in New Jersey – and that Lane had escaped several times before, only to be recaptured. Lane’s last break for freedom occurred only last month, the sheriff said.

When Mix was retaken in New Jersey, newspaper dispatcher from the North quoted him as saying he would “rather die” than return to the South Carolina chain-gang. New Jersey authorities at first balked at extraditing him, but later did so in January of this year.

Sheriff McLeod said both of the men were long termers. Mix, he said, was serving a ten-year sentence for criminal assault, and Lane a ten-year sentence for housebreaking and grand larceny.

It was expected the Columbia officers, with the bloodhounds, possibly would be recalled tomorrow, after having returned to the Capital City tonight, in any new leads developed in the pursuit of the two Negroes.

October 11, 1938  State (published as The State)  Columbia, South Carolina
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