Skip to comments.Two Convicted Murderers Escape in N.Y.
Posted on 07/07/2003 9:34:37 AM PDT by TLBSHOW
Two Convicted Murderers Escape From Maximum-Security Prison in Upstate New York
ELMIRA, N.Y. July 7 Two inmates convicted of murder escaped from a maximum-security prison early Monday, officials said.
Guards at the Elmira Correctional Facility discovered the men, who shared a prison cell, were missing during a routine inmate count at 6:30 a.m., said Jim Flateau, spokesman for the state Department of Correctional Services.
Guards later found sheets tied together that led down an outside wall of the 1,856-bed prison, 75 miles southwest of Syracuse in the western part of the state, Flateau said. State police and the Chemung County Sheriff's Department were aiding in the search.
The inmates were identified as Timothy Vail, 35, who is serving 49 years to life in the 1988 rape and murder of a pregnant secretary, Mary Kopyar; and Timothy Morgan, 26, who is serving 25 years to life for the 1998 murder of cab driver Joseph Boop.
Vail won't be eligible for parole until 2037, and Morgan won't be eligible until 2023.
The last escape from a maximum-security prison in the state was in 1994 at the Shawangunk Correctional Facility in Wallkill.
And you don't see this as a weakness in the vaunted "maximum security"?
Don't they look familiar?
ROTFLMAO. They're still looking for these guys, BTW. Hope they find them soon.
Link to story in the Press & Sun-Bulletin
It was the holiday season, days before the new year 1989, when Vail raped and strangled Mary K. Kopyar in a downtown Binghamton law office at 96 Hawley St. He left her body on the floor with a scarf knotted tightly around her neck.
"It was a brutal rape and murder of a pregnant woman," Broome County District Gerald F. Mollen recalled Monday. "It was just a very terrible crime."
Kopyar was 23 years old and eight months pregnant when she was slain. She was a wife and mother of a then 2-year-old son. Vail was 20.
Broome County Historian Gerald Smith said the murder is one of the 10 most vicious killings in Broome's history.
"The crime was pretty brutal because of the viciousness of the attack and because she was pregnant," Smith said. "There's something wrong with that."
Smith placed Vail's crime in the same category of last summer's execution-style slaying of sheriff's Deputy Kevin J. Tarsia and the shotgun killings, also last summer, of Binghamton resident Valerie Spears and her daughter, Devin.
Mollen won a guilty verdict against Vail in September 1989 in Broome County Court. The conviction sent the former Endicott resident to state prison for a minimum 49-year term.
Vail's escape brings back fears for Kopyar's family, said Lynn Giacobbe, executive director of the Crime Victims Assistance Center. The escape puts Vail back in the news and brings attention to the victim's family again, she said.
"To know that kind of guy is on the loose in someone's community is scary," she said.
Vail had known Kopyar because his mother also worked at Rosefsky, D'Esti & Chupp on Hawley Street. Vail was carrying out a burglary when Kopyar surprised him. The office had closed for the day, and Kopyar was apparently getting ready to go home when she was attacked.
Giacobbe spoke Monday with Kopyar's mother, Mary Gell of Binghamton. The family did not wish to comment, Giacobbe said.
Remy R. Perot, a Binghamton lawyer, was Vail's court-assigned defense counsel. Perot said Monday that he hasn't spoken with Vail, now 35 years old, since the trial.
Perot said the prosecution had a great deal of evidence against his client, including Vail's confession to then-Binghamton police investigator Alex J. Minor.
"It was kind of a slam-dunk case ... for them," Perot said. "In the end, they had evidence to convict."
The jury deliberated 3 1/2 hours before convicting Vail.
Before the trial, Vail had led investigators to the spot, at a highway rest stop at Otsiningo Park, where he dumped Kopyar's purse. A credit card from the purse, with Vail's fingerprint on it, was used against him at the trial.
But later, in a scandal that rocked the local legal system, a state police investigator admitted putting Vail's print on the card.
But the fraudulent evidence was not enough to throw out Vail's conviction. Broome County Judge Patrick Mathews ruled the phony fingerprint would not have changed the outcome. The conviction stood.
David L. Harding, of the Troop C Identification Unit, went to prison for perjury and tampering with evidence in the Vail trial and a string of other illegal manipulations.
Three other Sidney-based investigators also were convicted in the scandal, arguably the worst in New York state police history.