A 71-year-old former fugitive won’t be returning to Georgia after all.
Officials from the Georgia Department of Corrections have agreed to a request from the attorney representing Robert Stackowitz that will allow the man to remain in Connecticut instead of extraditing him back to Georgia. Stackowitz escaped from a state prison work detail in Carroll County in 1968 and lived under an alias in Sherman, Connecticut, for nearly 50 years.
The state Department of Corrections, which had asked Connecticut to return Stackowitz to Georgia, recently granted a medical reprieve after his attorney cited Stackowitz’ numerous health problems.
“The board has granted the medical reprieve and the case is currently being submitted through the interstate compact for his supervision to be with the state of Connecticut,” said Steve Hayes, a spokesman for the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles. “If approved by Connecticut, Stackowitz will remain under community supervision in Connecticut through the end of his sentence, which is July 14, 2022.”
Stackowitz was convicted for his involvement in a home invasion in Henry County, and sentenced to 17 years in prison. He served just two years in a prison located Carrollton before he escaped.
He lived in rural Sherman, Connecticut, for nearly five decades under the alias “Bob Gordon” before he was arrested in May. Stackowitz was arrested at his home after officials processing his Social Security application discovered a warrant for his arrest.
“After 50 years of lawful behavior and living as a good citizen, we’d like to think he’s paid his debt to society,” said Norman Pattis, an attorney for Stackowitz. “Frankly, why law enforcement would care about this man at this point is a mystery to me.”
Pattis provided the Georgia Department of Corrections with information on Stackowitz’ arrest, conviction and escape, as well as how he has lived during the 48 years since his escape. Pattis also provided previously undisclosed details of Stackowitz’s life before the robbery and on the lam, including stints as a high school auto shop teacher, Ford dealership mechanic and boat repairman.
According to Pattis, Stackowitz grew up in Bridgeport and did modeling as a child. He later got married and had a daughter. He divorced at age 22, “which broke his heart” and prompted him to hit the road traveling for a while.
Stackowitz ended up in Georgia in 1966, where he met two other men who asked him to be the getaway driver for a home burglary in Henry County, Pattis said, but the homeowner was there, and the burglary turned into a home invasion robbery. Pattis said no one was injured. All three men were arrested and sentenced to prison.
While in prison, officials learned of Stackowitz’s mechanic skills and allowed him to tune up the warden’s car and work on school buses at a facility next to the prison camp, Pattis said. It was at the bus facility where he escaped from custody.
Stackowitz, apparently with enough cash to buy a plane ticket, went straight to an airport and flew back to Connecticut. He went on to teach automotive class at Henry Abbott Technical High School in Danbury and worked at a few Ford dealerships, Pattis said.
He eventually settled in Sherman, a small town in western Connecticut along the New York border where he repaired boats at his home. In Sherman, he went by the alias Bob Gordon, but some people also knew him as Bob Stackowitz, Pattis said.
Stackowitz never remarried, but lived for several years with a woman who later died of cancer, Pattis said.
“We received an approval this morning from the Georgia Department of Corrections, and we will be reviewing it in order to determine whether or not it will be approved,” said Stephen Sedensky, a state attorney in Danbury, Connecticut.