An escaped jail inmate went on a crime spree that included killing a woman, stealing guns and vehicles, and ramming a police cruiser, NewsMax is reporting.
Police say 38-year-old Robert Crissman, who was in custody on a parole violation, simply walked away from a work-release program at about 6:30 a.m. Thursday. Sheriff William Rupert said that the inmate was delivering meals to other inmates, taking food off of a delivery truck, when he escaped.
“The doors were open so he could carry in meal trays, and he just walked away.”
Following his escape from the Kittanning jail, Crissman made his way about a mile to the home of an acquaintance, 55-year-old Tammy Long, according to CNN. Long and her boyfriend, Terry Slagle, barely knew Crissman, says Armstrong County District Attorney Scott Andreassi. But they knew him well enough that when he knocked on their door asking for help, they let him in without question.
“They were familiar to the point where he was allowed in voluntarily. They only knew him as a friend. They didn’t even know he was in jail.”
Unfortunately, that acquaintance with Robert Crissman would ultimately cost Tammy her life; police say when Slagle got home from work Thursday afternoon, he found his girlfriend dead in their home, allegedly strangled and beaten about the head by Crissman.
The escaped inmate then stole Slagle’s truck and drove off with it, but didn’t manage to get very far — police say he never went more than 10 to 12 miles from the jail. He apparently ran out of gas at some point, as 911 dispatchers in the area received several calls from area residents of a man matching Crissman’s description carrying a gas can.
Crissman’s undoing ultimately came when he picked the wrong house to approach to ask for help. He knocked on the door of a home in nearby Boggs Township, and the woman inside recognized him from news reports and refused to let him in. She called 911, and police converged on the area. Crissman fled in a stolen truck, leading police on a high-speed chase for about seven miles, before ramming the back of a police cruiser and losing control of his vehicle. He was apprehended at the scene.
Crissman had originally been jailed for a non-violent drug offense and was not known to have a tendency toward violence. An acquaintance, Barry Crytzer, who had worked with Crissman, described him as “nice.”
“He was a very nice guy. This all seems really out of character from the guy I knew. He seemed like a pretty passive guy.”
The escaped inmate now faces a variety of new charges, including murder, theft, and vehicular assault.
[Image courtesy of Armstrong County Jail via NewsMax]