Butch West and jail escapes

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We had a bailiff — actually he was a jailer there at the old — in the old Records Building — Criminal Courts Building, the jail, named Butch West. And when you come down through that elevator and through those doors, Butch had to let you in and out. Actually, he had to punch two or three buttons to let you get totally outside. And Butch never could get it straight. And the prisoners weren’t supposed to walk outside. So Decker told Butch, “One more prisoner escapes and you’re fired.”

Well, Butch didn’t want to go to work for a living, so he was being very careful. And there was a young — a little fellow — and I think his name was Monaco or something like that. The prisoners grab ahold of Monaco, put a knife to his throat, and take him down and say “Open the gate or we’re going to cut his throat.” Butch said, “Cut his damn throat.” So Monaco says, “No, no, no, wait a minute, wait a minute, Butch, Butch, Butch, open the gate.” “You know what Decker told me. I let anybody out of here I’m fired. Cut his throat.” “Call Bob” — the supervisor. “Call Bob, call Bob. Help. Don’t do this. Wait a minute, guys. Wait a minute.” So Bob comes in and says, “Let ’em out, Butch.” Butch says, “I ain’t going to do it. Cut his throat.” Bob said, “Butch, let ’em out. That’s an order.” He says, “It’s not an order unless you put it in writing.” “But I don’t have a pen.” “You better go get one.” Monaco is sitting there — Monaco had really gotten upset about this. They caught them a couple days later, but — and Decker didn’t fire Butch.

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