New Jersey resident Anne Patterson believes her father has finally seen justice. Nearly 50 years ago, her father Walter Patterson, a Wall gas station owner and World War II veteran, was fatally shot by a militant hijacker. The man escaped from jail after being sentenced for the crime, and finally he has been recaptured.
According to an Associated Press report on seattlepi.com, George Wright escaped in 1970 from Bayside State Prison in Leesburg where he was serving a sentence of 15-to-30 years for the murder of Walter Patterson. Wright was also the last remaining fugitive from an airline hijacking in 1972.
The Asbury Park Press reports that Wright, 68, was arrested by local police in Portugal Monday at the request of the U.S., which will seek Wright’s extradition.
Wright had been living in Almocageme, west of Lisbon. He married a Portuguese woman, 55-year-old Maria do Rosario Valente, and had two children both in their early 20s.In 1972 Wright and members of the Black Liberation Army hijacked a Delta flight from Detroit to Miami. After releasing 86 passengers for a $1 million ransom, the hijackers forced the plane to fly to Boston to pick up an international navigator, then traveled on to Algeria.
Michael Schroeder, from the U.S. Marshals Service, said a fugitive task force had been formed in 2002, and the New Jersey Department of Corrections reviewed all its old escape cases when it began. According to the New York Daily News, authorities connected a fingerprint Wright had given to get a national identity card, along with his communications with family to locate him in Portugal
Patterson believed the FBI never forgot her father because he was a World War II veteran and Bronze Star recipient. She thanked them for being persistent.
"It's been an emotional couple of days," Ann Patterson said. "When you choose to do a crime, you deserve the punishment."