Escaped inmate Robert Crissman allegedly killed a woman after simply walking away from a work-release program, sparking outrage at the jail for seemingly allowing him to go free.
Crissman, 38, is accused of killing a friend named Tammy Long who took him into her home in Pine Township, Pennsylvania. Crissman was only out of jail a matter of hours before killing Long, police say, and was back in custody within 26 hours of his escape.
Authorities say Robert Crissman was part of a work-release program in western Pennsylvania when he simply walked away on Thursday morning. Police said Crissman had gone to a truck to retrieve some food trays and disappeared.
He bolted to the home of Tammy Long, who knew Crissman but did not know he was in prison, the New York Daily News reported. Long lived in the home with her boyfriend, Jerry Slagle
“They only knew him as a friend,” said District Attorney Scott Andreassi. “They didn’t even know he was in jail.”
Slagle left for work not long after Crissman arrived. He returned about seven hours later to find Long dead and their car stolen. KDKA-TV reported that police caught up to Crissman, who crashed the truck while attempting to flee.
Authorities say Robert Crissman beat Long with a ceramic toilet lid so violently that it shattered into pieces. He then strangled her with a string, police claim.
The escaped inmate accused of killing the woman did not have any violent crimes in his history. Those who know Crissman described him as an addict with a long history of drug-related arrests, but they were surprised to hear he was accused of something so violent.
The Post-Gazette reported the following.
“Robert Crissman Jr. was a junkie and high school graduate who ripped off his relatives in Armstrong County, stealing scrap metal from an aunt, lifting cash from an employer’s safe and filching costume jewelry from his mother to support his heroin habit.
“‘I was very shocked,’ said Frank Lagoni, who hired Crissman several years ago at his steel company, Lagoni Erection Inc., and said he had never seen him lose his temper. ‘He’s been hollered at. Never reacted to being hollered at. Don’t know how he snapped like that.'”
Many are now angry at how Crissman could have simply walked away from the work release program.
“[Crissman] took everything from me,” Mr. Slagle yelled to a reporter. “[He] ruined my life…. If you want to write a story, why don’t you write a story about the county jail? They’re the ones who let him out. Can you explain to me why they let him out?”
Escaped inmate Robert Crissman is facing murder charges after allegedly killing the woman. He is now back in custody.
[Image via WXPI screenshot]