A Failed Escape Attempt Led To The Battle of Alcatraz
Because of Alcatraz’s reputation as being impossible to escape from, it housed some of the worst prisoners. However, this didn’t stop an attempt in 1946.
Bernard Coy, the convict who planned the escape, had been convicted of a bank robbery in 1937 and was sentenced to 25 years. After being moved to Alcatraz in 1938, he became the cell house orderly, and thus, was relatively free to move around the main cell block. One of his main accomplices, Joe Cretzer, was a West Coast gangster sentenced to 25 years for murder. Cretzer had already attempted to escape in the past and faced another murder charge. As so, he was moved to Alcatraz. He and Sam Shockley along with two other convicts tried to escape earlier. Clarence Carnes was the youngest inmate at Alcatraz. He was convicted of murder in 1943 at the age of 16. After other escape attempts, he had a life sentence and 99 years for kidnapping. He was transferred to Alcatraz in 1946 after several other escape attempts. The third convict involved in the main plan was Marvin Hubbard. After the attempt began, these three were joined by Miran Thompson and Sam Shockley.