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Garrett Brock Trapnell

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Garrett Brock Trapnell

Garrett Brock Trapnell
Born (1938-01-31)January 31, 1938
Brockton, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
Died September 7, 1993(1993-09-07) (aged 55)
Marion, Illinois, U.S.A.
Criminal charge Hijacking of an aircraft
Criminal penalty Imprisonment from 1973 to 1993

Garrett Brock Trapnell (January 31, 1938 – September 7, 1993) was a con man, bank robber, and aircraft hijacker of the 1960s and early 1970s. Trapnell initiated a string of bank robberies across the United States and Canada that netted him in excess of $1,000,000 over time. His clever manipulation of the criminal defense system allowed him to repeatedly avoid jail time by utilizing some form of the insanity plea.[1]

On January 28, 1972, Trapnell hijacked TWA Flight #2 on a flight from Los Angeles to New York while over Chicago. Trapnell demanded $306,800 in cash (to recoup the loss of a recent court case), the release of Angela Davis (as well as that of a friend of his who was also imprisoned), and clemency from President Richard Nixon.[1] The FBI was able to retake the aircraft during a crew switch at Kennedy Airport; Trapnell was shot and wounded, no one else was hurt. Trapnell's skyjacking came after a string of similar domestic incidents (especially Cuba-bound hijackings) and was directly responsible for an overhaul of security procedures by the FAA that remained in place until the September 11 attacks.

His subsequent incarceration in a maximum security penitentiary was marked by continued scheming and criminal endeavour.

Trapnell was a nephew of World War II hero and Bataan Death March survivor, LTG Thomas Trapnell and a cousin of naval aviation pioneer VADM Frederick M. Trapnell. He died in prison after contracting emphysema.[1]

Attempted breakouts

On May 24, 1978 his friend, 43-year-old Barbara Ann Oswald, hijacked a St. Louis based charter helicopter and forced the pilot to land in the yard at USP Marion. While landing the aircraft the pilot, Allen Barklage, who was a Vietnam veteran, struggled with Oswald and managed to wrestle the gun away from her. Barklage then shot and killed Oswald, thwarting the escape.[2] In addition to Trapnell, another inmate involved in the escape was Martin J. McNally, who had hijacked a St. Louis-Tulsa American Airlines Flight on June 23, 1972 and demanded $502,500 before jumping out of a Boeing 727 over Peru, Indiana. Barklage died in a helicopter crash in 1998, and McNally was paroled on January 27, 2010 [3]

On December 21, 1978 Robin Oswald, the 17-year-old child of Barbara Ann Oswald, hijacked TWA Flight 541 and demanded that Trapnell be freed or she would detonate dynamite that was strapped to her body. Robin Oswald was remembered by the hostages aboard the flight as a "beautiful girl" with a serious demeanor, who never exhibited any signs of nervousness.[4]

FBI negotiators were able to free the prisoners and induce her to surrender with no injuries or deaths. The bomb that was strapped to her chest later emerged to be a set of railroad flares wired to what appeared to be a doorbell.[5] Robin Oswald was charged as a juvenile with charges not being announced as is the law in Illinois.[6]

Bibliography

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