For 56 years, Frank Freshwaters lived the life of a free man despite the fact that he should have been in prison. But that’s only the beginning of his interesting story. It turns out that Freshwaters’ story will sound very familiar to fans of the movie The Shawshank Redemption because, well, it is.
In 1957 Freshwaters pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter stemming from an automobile accident. He was given probation but in 1959 he was sentenced to up to 20 years at the Ohio State Reformatory for violating his probation. That’s the very same prison that was used in shooting the Stephen King novella-based film The Shawshank Redemption.
Here’s where the stories really intertwine, according to CNN…
Dufresne, as played by Tim Robbins, benefited from being a favorite of Shawshank’s warden and prison guards. In that respect, his story resembles that of Freshwaters, who was “quickly able to earn the trust of the prison officials,” according to Peter Elliott, the U.S. marshal for the Northern District of Ohio
This trust helped to earn the Akron native a transfer to what’s called an honor farm, Elliott said.
Freshwaters escaped from that honor farm, not the prison. While it took Dufresne nearly 20 years to dig his way out of prison, Freshwaters managed to escape from custody after only seven months.
According to CBS, it was his fingerprints that finally did him in after over 50 years.
Former Akron, Ohio, resident Frank Freshwaters, now 79, admitted his true identity when authorities confronted him Monday, according to the U.S. Marshals Service and deputies in Brevard County, Fla.
Marshals in Ohio had sought help from deputies there, and they created a ruse to get him to sign papers so they could check his fingerprints, which matched the decades-old arrest, said Major Tod Goodyear.
Freshwater, who had retired from his job as a truck driver and was living off Social Security benefits now awaits extradition, 58 years after his initial crime.