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In 1958, a jail guard was slain in Lowville. Now, he may finally be honored.


LOWVILLE — Folks in these parts are quick to offer a helping hand — to a neighbor shoveling snow, to a friend looking for a ride to the Cream Cheese Festival, to a stranger in need of directions.

They come together to celebrate their community, packing the town’s streets by the thousands each year for the county fair.

And when nothing much is going on, locals still find something to talk about when they gather at Lloyd’s of Lowville, a diner that’s been around since the 1920s.

“News spreads fast in Lewis County,” said L. Michael Tabolt, the county sheriff from 2004 to 2012. “I suspect it sometimes spreads faster by word of mouth than by telephone.”

That likely was the case in August 1958, when the unexpected took place — a killing of one of their own.

On Sunday the 17th, Lewis County jail guard Patrick J. Fogarty — a Lowville resident, retired lumber dealer and 15-year veteran of the sheriff’s department — was attacked by three inmates who subsequently escaped.

As Mr. Fogarty lay dying, and as the fire whistle blew, alerting residences to the inmates’ escape, community members rallied. They brought in the attackers in less than two hours.

Mr. Fogarty died in the hospital of a heart attack caused by head injuries suffered when he was beaten with a large screwdriver at the jail.

The inmates were charged with the murder of Mr. Fogarty, who was 77.

Unlike fallen officers today, however, he wasn’t recognized nationally or locally.

There’s no building named after him, no wing, no room.

There’s no photo, no plaque.

But a recent application to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C., might change all that.

Planning an escape

On Aug. 17, 1958, the Lewis County jail had only three inmates, all accused of minor crimes.

George Lambert, 25, and Lyle Norman Hoage, 18, both from the Beach’s Bridge area in Lowville, were serving six-month sentences for the burglary of a record player worth $50 from the Martinsburg camp of Robert S. Hummer.

Hubert Richard Carr, a 20-year-old Watertown resident, was awaiting grand jury action on charges he stole $425 from the Lowville home of Jeno Sabo earlier in the month.

According to newspaper archives, the three planned their escape in advance; the opportunity arose that Sunday evening when Mr. Fogarty was left as the sole duty officer.

Mr. Lambert and Mr. Hoage were considered “trusties” of the jail and thus were afforded more freedom and responsibility than other inmates. Their sentence lengths and ability to serve in various jobs, such as cleaning or using tools, and their history of violence were used to determine whether they could be named a trusty.

“Back then, there were very few people viewed as a threat,” Mr. Tabolt said.

With Mr. Carr confined to a cell, Mr. Lambert called to the jail guard, saying Mr. Carr had a headache.

As Mr. Fogarty headed to the office to retrieve aspirin, according to a police report, he was attacked by Mr. Hoage, who had been hiding between two doors.

Mr. Hoage used a large screwdriver, earlier concealed by Mr. Lambert as he was sent to the jail barn for cleaning supplies, to strike Mr. Fogarty’s head.

The blow caused a weaponless Mr. Fogarty to stumble as he attempted to make it to his office. A second strike dropped him to his knees.

As Mr. Hoage carried out the attack, Mr. Lambert freed Mr. Carr from his cell, maneuvering a series of levers in a combination he previously had observed. They joined Mr. Hoage in the office, where he had Mr. Fogarty pinned to the floor.

The three dragged the semiconscious jail guard — called a turnkey at the time — to a cell where they locked him inside.

Scaling a 9-foot fence capped with barbed wire, the three escaped on foot to Park Avenue, traveling east.

Mr. Fogarty’s calls for help were heard by a neighbor, Alice Gasin, as well as John Corbine, game warden for the state Conservation Department, who discovered him on the floor of the cell.

He was still alive.

Bringing in the attackers

Kenneth K. Flint, now 72, was just 17 at the time, but he vividly recalls that fateful day 56 years ago.

“I was with Jimmy Wilder; we were heading back from field days in Indian River,” Mr. Flint said.

“We were coming down East State Street at the crest of the hill ... just coming down over the hill, and three guys ran across the road in front of us. We heard the whistle going off, so we knew something was going on. We drove up to the sheriff’s office.”

Still called “the old jail” today, the now-vacant building at 7514 S. State St. housed both the sheriff’s office and jail cells in 1958.

Mr. Flint remembers meeting deputies Jerry Gudridge and Bill Green there.

“They said there was a jailbreak and the turnkey had been beaten,” Mr. Flint said. “We told them, ‘We know where they are; follow us.’ We went down Water Street about 90 miles an hour, with the sirens wide open behind us.”

Mr. Flint led the men around a left turn at the end of Water Street and then a right onto Maple Avenue, which turns into Waters Road.

A cornfield at the bend in Waters Road was owned by Robert Boshart.

“We figured they’d run in there,” Mr. Flint said.

Mr. Flint and Mr. Wilder, along with the two deputies, were the first to arrive at the field. Deputies threw a baton to each of them.

“That wouldn’t happen today,” Mr. Flint said.

The men stationed themselves at the corners, about 100 feet apart. The fire whistle continued to blow.

“When you wanted to gather people back then, in many instances, you’d have sounded the fire whistle to bring them together,” said Mr. Tabolt, the former sheriff.

Word spread fast.

Other police officers, firefighters and community members began assembling outside the cornfield.

Mr. Flint said 30 to 40 minutes passed as the group of men grew. During that time, word was received that Mr. Fogarty had suffered a heart attack as a result of the beating and was dead.

Mr. Hoage and Mr. Lambert were Lewis County men; Mr. Flint recalled knowing who they were that day.

“I don’t think they were that bad of guys. They’d drink, raise hell, like we all did. They were just young guys,” Mr. Flint said.

“Jimmy (Wilder) was a strong, tough guy. The three (escapees) knew Jimmy,” Mr. Flint said. “Jimmy yelled, ‘You bastards, come out or I’m coming in after you.’”

Mr. Wilder didn’t need to enter the cornfield. Mr. Flint said the men exited the field, surrendering.

Back at the sheriff’s office, Mr. Flint said there was no fanfare, and the two weren’t thanked for their efforts.

In fact, he said, “Bill (Green) wanted to give me a ticket for going 90 on Water Street, but the sheriff said no. I even had a flat tire from taking those corners so fast.”

Mr. Flint joined the Army shortly afterward and didn’t follow the inmates’ murder trial, which lasted from September 1958 until February 1959.

A different time

Former Sheriff Tabolt was only 8 when Mr. Fogarty died, but he has familiarized himself with the case.

“He was an officer of our agency,” Mr. Tabolt said.

He said the old jail looked more like a house, and for good reason.

“Back then, the sheriff would have lived in the jail, up in the front,” he said.

There was little crime in those days, and the sheriff’s wife even would have cooked meals for the inmates.

“In 1958, there weren’t a lot of calls. There was no night patrol,” Mr. Tabolt said. “Even when I started in January 1975, we had no road patrols after 2 a.m. If they needed you, you would get a call at home. You could go out and take your own car or come in and get a patrol vehicle. You would be going to that call alone.”

Aug. 21, 1958 — the day after Mr. Fogarty’s burial — exemplifies the limited crime of the era. The only report to the sheriff that day was for a stolen cow.

Hearing Mr. Flint’s recollection, Mr. Tabolt confirmed the community descended on the cornfield intent on capturing the escapees.

“I suspect if they didn’t give themselves up, they would’ve come out of that cornpiece horizontal,” he said.

Though he couldn’t estimate the number of men who joined then-Sheriff Francis P. Mangan and other officers that day, Mr. Tabolt said, “I would guess anyone that owned a gun was there.”

Mr. Fogarty was well known, well liked and very community-oriented.

His obituary said he was a 20-year member of the Lowville village board. He also served on the county Board of Supervisors and the municipal water board, and he belonged to the Elks Club and the Knights of Columbus.

“He was the kind of guy that would have played cards with the inmates,” Mr. Tabolt said. “He never would have anticipated this. It wouldn’t have taken them long to figure out his routine.”

The trial

An inquest ordered by Lewis County coroner Dr. Louis Avallone determined Mr. Fogarty had died of a heart attack resulting from the beating.

All three suspects were charged with first-degree murder, second-degree assault, intent to commit felony prisoner escape and unlawful escape.

Mr. Hoage and Mr. Lambert received additional weapons charges for the use of the screwdriver.

According to court documents, all three men requested a change of venue from Lewis County, suggesting the public had been inflamed by newspaper articles, and thus the three would not be able to receive a fair trial. The case was moved to state Supreme Court in Rochester and was prosecuted by Lowville attorney George R. Davis.

Mr. Carr’s attempt to have his charges thrown out due to mental incapacity was unsuccessful, and all three pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter in February 1959.

Mr. Carr received a 10- to 20-year sentence in the Auburn Correctional Facility, while Mr. Hoage and Mr. Lambert each were sentenced to 15 to 30 years in the Attica Correctional Facility.

Mr. Hoage and Mr. Lambert later appealed the burglary charges for which they originally were incarcerated under Mr. Fogarty’s watch. In 1967, their appeals were successful. They claimed neither man had been informed of his right to counsel, and the burglary charges were dropped.

Because their manslaughter charges were considered a first-time felony offense, their sentences were reduced to 10 to 20 years.

Recognizing a fallen officer

Lewis County Sheriff Michael P. Carpinelli has submitted an application to get Mr. Fogarty recognized on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Mr. Fogarty fits the criteria for recognition as an individual involved in crime control or reduction who was killed in the line of duty as a result of a struggle.

Sheriff Carpinelli said he is awaiting word from the memorial’s board of directors about the status of the application to include Mr. Fogarty on the memorial.

The board will meet Feb. 4.

Carolie Heyliger, memorial programs research manager, said letters listing the board’s decision are expected to be mailed the following week.

“The bulk of our cases are older,” Ms. Heyliger said. “A good chunk come from the 1800s.”

As with Mr. Fogarty, newspaper articles are used to prove the validity of the case.

Ms. Heyliger said modern-day officers often are recognized immediately for their sacrifices, although that practice didn’t begin until the 1970s.

Time served

Mr. Carr was released from prison on May 31, 1967, but was reincarcerated in Auburn on Nov. 28 of that year for a parole violation. He was released again on Jan. 6, 1970, but another parole violation sent him back to prison four months later.

Mr. Carr finally was released on June 2, 1971. State Department of Corrections documents show he had no further incarcerations in the state prison system.

He died in Syracuse on his birthday in 2005, at age 67.

His surviving brother, Alfred W. Carr, of Watertown, said he knew only what his brother had told him of the events that took Mr. Fogarty’s life, because he was serving in the Marine Corps while his brother was in jail.

After Hubert Carr’s release from prison, there was brief but unpleasant contact involving the brothers.

“He was a thief,” Alfred Carr told the Times in a phone interview last week.

The last interaction the two had was after Alfred suspected Hubert of stealing items from his home.

“He pulled in my driveway, and I asked him where my TV was,” Alfred Carr said. “He said he didn’t know. I told him to back out and don’t come back.”

He never spoke to his brother again.

Mr. Hoage, meanwhile, was released from prison on Jan. 23, 1969. He went on to get married and start a family, but he died of heart problems in 1992, at the age of 50, while his children were young. He is buried in Oneida County.

Mr. Lambert was released from prison on Sept. 23, 1968. State Department of Corrections documents show he had no further incarcerations in prison, but extensive attempts by the Times to locate him or a family member were unsuccessful.

If he is still living, he would be about 80 years old.

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