UPDATE: Captured escapee on the lam for 30 years out on bondby Dara Kam | December 21st, 2009
A fugitive who escaped from a Florida work release program more than 30 years ago and was captured this weekend in Missouri is out on bond.
Oscar Richardson, who officials say had been living under the assumed name ‘Eugene Ward’ in Missouri for years, was one of a dozen fugitives featured in the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s “12 Days of Fugitives” holiday-themed campaign to close cold cases.
Richardson was arrested this weekend after a tip received through fugitive hotline, according to FDLE officials. He was convicted of armed robbery for holding up two stores in Tampa in 1977.
FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey wasn’t pleased with Taney County Circuit Court Judge Tony Williams’ decision to let Richardson back on the loose.
“I am shocked and extremely disappointed by the irresponsible decision of Judge Tony Williams to allow Oscar Richardson to post bond. Richardson is a violent felony offender who was serving time in Florida for an armed robbery conviction when he fled after serving only a fraction of his sentence. Allowing this fugitive to walk out of a courtroom after hiding from authorities for 30 years diminishes the seriousness of his crimes and shows a lack of sensitivity for those he victimized and a disregard for the safety of the citizens of Taney County. We are working closely with Missouri authorities to aggressively pursue Richardson’s extradition to Florida. His debt to our state remains unpaid,” Bailey said in a statement.