FORT EDWARD, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Capital Region law enforcement is bracing for the upcoming release of a convicted criminal with a notorious history.
Joel O’Keefe spent 22 years behind bars on a burglary conviction, but not before leading police on a massive two-week manhunt, who splashed across headlines nationwide.
The Washington County Sheriff says he was alerted earlier on Tuesday that O’Keefe will be released on November 25th. He will be returning to Washington County where he lived and committed many of his crimes.
Back in September of 1994, O’Keefe easily escaped custody when two officers neglected to secure him in a police cruiser.
The Argyle man had been arrested on weapons and marijuana charges. At the time, he was also facing burglary, sexual abuse, and unlawful imprisonment charges. That was after police say he attacked a young mom and locked her young daughter in a closet.
The intense manhunt spread out from Washington and Saratoga Counties. It lasted two weeks with police hunting down hundreds of leads and sightings of the escapee.
He was finally picked up in Vermont when a store clerk recognized him.
O’Keefe didn’t stop trying to escape. In 2000, he was charged again with trying to escape the Clinton Correctional Facility.
After several failed attempts before the board, he was finally granted a conditional release from prison set for November 25th.
O’Keefe is now 57 years old.
Local law enforcement caution that O’Keefe is still considered by then to be very dangerous. He is still a suspect in a double murder in the town of Hartford, although he was never charged.