True Crime Tuesday: Fool Death Once Edition

Prison Break! #2, December 1951. Cover art by Wally Wood - found at
When I stumbled across the tale behind today’s TCT, I knew I’d found something special.

Troy Leon Gregg (1953 – July 29, 1980) was the first condemned individual whose death sentence was upheld by the United States Supreme Court after the Court’s decision in Furman v. Georgia invalidated all previously enacted death penalty laws in the United States. – Murderpedia

Furman v. Georgia was largely a case about how unevenly sentencing was being applied at the time of the ruling. Concerns were raised that (what a surprise) there was a racial imbalance in applying the death penalty – no worries, though: They apparently had it all sorted out by 1976, when Gregg was convicted.

Gregg was convicted of having murdered Fred Edward Simmons and Bob Durwood Moore, who had given him and another man a ride when they were hitchhiking. The crime occurred on 21 November 1973. – Murderpedia

A return to executions, however, wasn’t Gregg’s only first for the history books:

However, the night before his set date for execution, together with three other condemned murderers, Gregg escaped from Georgia State Prison in Reidsville in the first death row breakout in Georgia history. Dressed in homemade correctional officer uniforms, complete with fake badges, the four had sawed through their cells’ bars and then left in a car parked in the visitors’ parking lot by an aunt of one of them. – wikipedia

What do you do after such a risky escape from death? Celebrate, of course.

[Gregg] escaped […] the night before his set date for execution, but died the following night in a bar fight in North Carolina. – Murderpedia

Electric Chair, from Reuters